Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 296, Issue 3–4, pp 167–178 | Cite as

Floral polymorphism in common primrose (Primula vulgaris Huds., Primulaceae) of the Northeastern Black Sea coast

  • Alexey ShipunovEmail author
  • Yana Kosenko
  • Polina Volkova
Original Article


The common primrose (Primula vulgaris, Primulaceae) has several color morphs. Two of them, traditionally treated as subspecies, vulgaris with white and yellow flowers, and polymorphic sibthorpii with the predominance of dark (anthocyanin-containing) flowers, often occur at the same places along the eastern Black Sea coast, stretching over 250 km between Novorossiysk and Pitsunda. Seventy-one primrose populations were sampled on almost every 10-km interval of this line. We found a significant trend of increase in the proportion of dark flowers in the populations from northwest to southeast, with an abrupt (60 km) transitional zone. Within this zone, we found significant spatial trends correlated with altitude and distance from seashore. No reliable morphological differences between color forms were found. The observed large-scale geographical structure may be a joint result of the recent contact of previously isolated color morphs, heterogeneity of pollinator preferences, and genetic drift.


Primula Flower color polymorphism Black Sea Caucasus Geography Taxonomy 



We are grateful to all the members of the spring field practices (headed by S. Glagolev) of Moscow South-West High School, who collected most of the material in the field, and personally, to E. Sysovskaya and P. Buntman, who assisted with the initial stages of data analysis, and to P. Petrov and A. Mushegian for their valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minot State UniversityMinotUSA
  2. 2.Biological Department, Botanical GardensMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussian Federation
  3. 3.Biological DepartmentMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussian Federation

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