It starts with a Jacquie Lawson e-card “Auricula Theatre”, sent to me by Benita Bendon Campbell for Easter. The auriculas in question are cultivars of Primula auricula (aka the mountain cowslip or bear’s ear), a species of primrose.

The final image of the e-card:

(#1) On the left, the Auricula Theatre

The Lawson “Auricula Theatre” texts. To explain the e-card.


The species. From Wikipedia:

Primula auricula, often known as auricula, mountain cowslip or bear’s ear (from the shape of its leaves), is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, that grows on basic [that is, alkaline] rocks in the mountain ranges of central Europe, including the western Alps, Jura Mountains, the Vosges, the Black Forest and the Tatra Mountains.

… The specific epithet auricula means “ear-shaped”, and refers to the shape of the leaves

… The term auricula is also used collectively for plants which have been developed from a hybrid between P. auricula and P. hirsuta. Thousands of cultivars are available in a wide range of colours, and several societies are devoted to their cultivation and display.

(#4) An auricula cultivar (photo from Wikipedia)

Primula auricula is depicted on the obverse side of Austrian € 0.05 euro coins.


English primroses. From my 4/21/13 posting “primroses”:

Primula vulgaris ([(English)] primrose, syn. P. acaulis (L.) Hill) is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae

(#6) English primrose cultivars, of the sort we grew in the Columbus OH garden; they are widely planted as winter-blooming flowers around here in Palo Alto

Not prim and not roses. The short version of the etymological story is that primroses are prime-roses, among the first — prime — flowers to bloom in the spring; and that primrose is a resembloid composite, referring to a rose-like flower that is no kind of rose (wild primroses have five notched petals, like wild roses; photos in my 2013 posting),

One Response to “Auriculas”

  1. lise menn Says:

    Bill B. brought me one in a flower pot to brighten up a sunless apartment in Tokyo in 1988. Sweet to be reminded of it.

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