New plant species: Primula zhui

What is it? Primula zhui, a new species in the primrose family.

Where was it found? It’s endemic to the south of Yunnan, China’s most biodiverse province.

How did it get its name? It’s named after Professor Zhu Hua, a plant taxonomist, “for his great contribution to botanical research in tropical areas,” according to Yang Bin, one of the scientists describing the new species.

What is its conservation status? P zhui is critically endangered because of the effect of deforestation, which has fragmented its populations.

What does it look like? It’s a 12-20cm-tall perennial herb with leaves arranged as a spreading rosette. Its flowers are heterostylous, with five pale pink petals.

Drawings and photographs of Primula zhui, a new species found in Yunnan province, China. Images from the Nordic Journal of Botany.

Heterostylous? Yes. Many Primula and other species have morphs with sex organs in different positions in the flower. In pin flowers, the stigma (female organ) is at the top of the flower tube and the anthers (male organs) are further down. These positions are reversed in thrum flowers.

What kind of habitat does it like? It was found in a subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest around 1,400m above sea level, where it grows in the understory. This is the only place the species has been seen.

Where can I find out more?

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