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Life Cycle of Primrose Plants

A Biennial Plant

The primrose is biennial, meaning, it has a natural life cycle of two years. Wild plants shed their seed during the autumn months and go dormant throughout the winter. Some of the seed may remain dormant for many years if conditions are not quite right for germination to take place, but other seeds may sprout in the following spring, forming small rosettes that stay close to the ground. When winter comes again, the rosettes are covered by the snow and are protected from the harsh temperatures.

Sudden Growth Spurt

The next spring brings with it a primrose plant that suddenly "bolts" upward at a rapid growing pace and can reach heights of anywhere between 3 and 6 feet tall. This version of the plant then flowers throughout the summer and produces seed, which blows on the wind to other locations or gets picked at by birds. After the seeds are released, the plant dies. Despite its unusual nature, the primrose is an extremely hardy plant. As a result of this hardiness, it is seldom bothered by insects or disease.


The primrose plant self-pollinates, allowing its own pollen to fall into the unopened flower buds one to two days before the flowers open, thus preventing foreign genes from entering the genetic code of the plant, keeping each generation of plant identical to the ones that came before it. Because the primrose has a set of "lethal" genes, any pollen that arrives that these genes do not recognize as its own are immediately killed by the lethal genes.

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