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Carniolan Primrose (Primula carniolica)

One of our most famous plants is the Carniolan Primrose. It was spotted more than two hundred years ago in the vicinity of Divje jezero by Idrija, by the Idrian physician, Janez Anton Scopoli, although he did not recognise it as a new species. His successor, Balthasar Hacquet, dug it up and sent it still fresh to Vienna, where one of the then leading botanists described it under all the rules as a new species, and christened it Carniolan, after the land from which it had come. The territory of Slovenia was divided into a number of provinces in the former Austrian empire. One of these was Carniola, which embraced present day Gorenjska, Dolenjska and Notranjska.


Carniolan primrose is classified among the more recent endemics, which emerged during the ice ages. The flower has glittering bright green basal leaves , which are smooth and bare and are not speckled with a farinose coating, as with Bear's Ear Primrose. The soft, red- violet flowers are in clusters, with a sprinkling of white dust at the mouth.


It flowers in April and May in shady, damp gorges in rocky fissures, and in places also on meadows in a 70 km long and 25 km wide belt south and west of Ljubljana. It is most common in the surroundings of Idrija, in Trnovo forest, and in the gorges of Pekel by Borovnica and Iška by Vintgar.


It has been protected in Slovenia since 1922, and on the Slovene Red List of threatened plant species it is classified as an endemic among unthreatened plants.



Text by Nada Praprotnik 

Carniolan Primrose (Primula carniolica) / Photo: Ciril Mlinar