David Trevan's picture

Primrose, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight

Observed: 28th February 2012 By: David Trevan
Isle of Wight Natural History & Archaeological Soc
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Seen on a grassy bank close to the sea, gorgeous!

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Primrose (Primula vulgaris) interacts


LVS77's picture


I only discovered a few years ago that the primrose prevents self-pollination by producing two types of plants - one with pin-eyed flowers (with the stigma uppermost) and one with thrum-eyed flowers (with the stamens uppermost). Pollen from a pin-eyed plant is incompatible not only with its own stigma but also the stigmas of all other pin-eyed plants - and vice versa with the thrum-eyed flowers - and so cross pollination from thrum-eyed to pin-eyed flowers (and vice versa) is ensured. The photo above shows the thrum-eyed version with the stamens visible. In a bank of primroses there should be an even distribution of the two types.
And yes, I do still check to see if there's an even balance between the two - even in my own garden...

David Trevan's picture

Pins and Thrums!

Hi Lucy,
Yes am well familiar with pins and thrums, I think in botanical terms this device is called heterostyly because it's the length of the style that supports the stigma which is actually different!

I find when I lead walks with students and keen amateurs it's a fun thing to point out because I guess most people have never really looked close up at a primrose flower before,great to share knowledge!
On a different note, did you know that Seely is a well known Island family name, also important, benefactors of the island libraries, are you connected?

David J Trevan

LVS77's picture


Hello David,
I don't know of any IOW connections - the Seely family are a bit mysterious! I only know that we go back to the late 1800s here in Norfolk (Norwich and the countryside around Thetford). I think the spelling was changed at some point in the early 20th century - some kind of split in the family I think (What that was about, I also don't know!)

There are Sielys around in the part of Norfolk where I live (North Norfolk) but I don't know if they're relations either. So IOW is as much a possiblity as anywhere else... There were rumours of Cornish roots somewhere in the family - and someone way back said there was possibly Jewish ancestory too - as I said, quite the mystery! So now I can add an IOW possibility to the family tree...

I shall try to point out pin-eyed and thrum-eyed primroses to my friends and family from now on!