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Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula mistassinica)
Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula mistassinica), a State Special Concern plant, is found in neutral to calcareous rock splash pools and on stabilized dunes near the Great Lakes. It also occurs inland on moist sandstone cliffs. Blooming occurs early May through late June; fruiting occurs early June through late July. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through early June.
Synonyms: Primula intercedens, Primula mistassinica var. intercedens, Primula mistassinica var. mistassinica, Primula mistassinica var. noveboracensis
- Distinguishing characteristics: This species is distinguished from similar species by its pale blue or white petals and glabrous scape and stem; bracts of the umbrella-shaped inflorescence 3 to 6 mm; calyx 3 to 6 mm.
- Flower characteristics: Flowers 1 to 10; calyx 3 to 6 mm, lobed to about the middle; corolla-tube yellow, the limb containing water-soluble pigments (blue, purple, or red) but generally pale, seldom white, 1 to 2 cm wide.
- Fruit characteristics: Capsule 5-valved at the tip.
- Leaf characteristics: Oblanceolate or spatulate, 2 to 7 cm, with very small, outward-directed teeth along the margins, long-tapering to the base, smooth, but the lower side often densely covered with a white or yellow powder.
- Blooming phenology: early May through late June
- Fruiting phenology: early June through late July
- Optimum time to identify: late May through early June
- Growth form: Forb-erect
- Vegetative reproduction:
- Life cycle: Perennial
- Comments: Associated Species: Thuja occidentalis, Potentilla fruticosa, P. tridentata, Ledum groenlandicum, Pinguicula vulgaris, Parnassia glauca, Gentianopsis procera, Castilleja coccinea, Deschampsia cespitosa, Lobelia kalmii, Solidago canadensis.
Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin
The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula mistassinica). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.
|Federal Status in Wisconsin||none|
|Tracked by NHI||Y|
Habitats and landscapes
The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.
General habitat information
- Habitat description: Found in neutral to calcareous rock splash pools and on stabilized dunes near the Great Lakes. It also occurs inland on moist sandstone cliffs.
- Soils: Gravelly, neutral to calcareous soils.
This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Bird's-eye Primrose. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).
This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Bird's-eye Primrose. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.
The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.
These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.
- Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
- Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
- Avoid direct disturbance to sensitive microsites such as seeps, cliffs, and moss-covered boulders.
Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species
- Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
- Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.
- Buffer management around unique microhabitats such as ephemeral ponds, seeps, etc.
Links to additional Bird's-eye Primrose information
Other links related to vascular plants (all exit the DNR website)
- Wisconsin Vascular Plants
- Freckmann Herbarium
- Atlas of Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna Flora - Wisconsin State Herbarium
- USDA - NRCS Plants Database
- USGS Midwestern Wetland Flora - field office guide to plant species
- Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Herbarium
- Intermountain Herbarium Grasses of North America
- Orchids of Wisconsin
Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.