Devon Biodiversity Action Plan

Plants and Animals

Special to Devon!

The location of Devon.

Primula vulgaris

Primroses have a Species Action Plan devoted to them within the Devon BAP. (More on Devon BAP here)


Primroses growing on a streambank.

Primroses are a very special feature of Devon. Their masses of creamy yellow flowers bloom everywhere in the spring, from fields to hedgebanks and from seacliffs to churchyards. They can be found throughout the Woodland Education Centre in Offwell, in virtually every habitat.

Primroses thrive in the mild, wet climate of Devon. In other parts of England they are usually found only within the shelter of damp woodlands. They rarely occur right out in the open as they often do in Devon, because they cannot survive dry conditions.

It is because they are such a feature of Devon, that Primroses have their own individual Species Action Plan within the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). They may not be threatened at present, but their continued success depends on them being valued now.  (More on Devon BAP here)

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Primroses are one of the earliest spring flowers. They may be found flowering in warm sheltered nooks as early as the end of January, although most flower from March to May.

Because they flower so early in the year, they provide a vital source of nectar at a time when there are few other flowers around for insects to feed on.

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Insects such as adult Brimstone butterflies (left), which have hibernated over the winter will often emerge on warmer spring days. If they are unable to find nectar to feed on they will quickly die.

Primroses are one of their most important sources of food at this time.

wpe17.jpg (27613 bytes) Primroses are a low growing plant, with rosettes of leaves, crowned by flowers, at the level of the soil surface.

Because they are close to the ground, they are rapidly overshadowed by other taller plants (left), which grow quickly as the weather warms up in late spring/early summer.

By flowering so early in the year, Primroses are able to complete their life cycle while light levels are still high and before they become completely covered and shaded out by other plants.

Primroses are unusual in having two almost identical, yet slightly different types of flowers.
Continue and find out more here