‘Thrum-eyed’ flowers

March 22nd 2015

Clump of primroses Primula vulgaris on the sunny side of Glenleraig Brae (NC148315) on 21st March 2015. First we have seen in the wild this spring, although they were reported from Glendarroch on 18th by Jan and Mark Snowdon. Primroses have evolved two types of flowers, to encourage cross-pollination. The ‘thrum-eyed’ flowers have the five stamens clustered in the throat of the corolla and short concealed single styles, and the ‘pin-eyed’ have concealed stamens, and long styles, bringing the stigmas to the mouth of the corolla . These are thrum-eyed. Pollinating insects are scarce so far, although the first bumblebees have been reported. A bumblebee mimic, the bee-fly Bombylius major, may be seen on primroses at this time of year and should be looked for in Assynt. Although convincingly furry, it is smaller than most bumblebees, and has just the one pair of wings (if the insect is stationary long enough for you to count them).

Ian Evans

Primrose Primula vulgaris Glenleraig Brae. Photo I. Evans
Primrose Primula vulgaris Glenleraig Brae. Photo I. Evans

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