This Primula has been in cultivation since 1836 when it was first introduced into cultivation by Dr. John Forbes Royle from the NW Himalaya. It is a common sight in UK gardens at this time of year being a robust plant despite its Himalayan origins.
Although it came to the attentions of gardeners in the 1830s Primula denticulata was originally described and illustrated 30 years earlier in 1806 by material sent from Nepal by Dr Francis Buchanan Hamilton.
The Botanics have a two accessions of Primula denticulata from Nepal growing in the collection. One from 2004 was collected on the first joint RBGE/Nepalese government fieldwork at the beginning of the Flora of Nepal project and the other is an older accession that dates from the Stainton Sykes and Williams expedition in 1954, just after Nepal opened up as a country to foreigners.
This species is probably best known to most people as the drumstick Primula, but growing up in Angus I knew it as a Kirrie Dumpling. This locally known name is derives from the town of Kirriemuir which is best known for its link to J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, and to an extent for Bon Scott who was lead vocals for AC/DC from 1974 to 1980, but I digress.
Most importantly Kirrie was also where Major George Sherriff retired after his military and plant hunting careers. His garden, Ascrieve, is where he and his wife created a Sino-Himalayan homage to the landscapes and plants they saw and collected in the Himalaya and Tibet. Major Sherriff was generous with his plant collection giving plants away to visitors, friends and neighbours, with Primula denticulata presumably among them.
Vive la Kirrie Dumplings.
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