Primula Palinuri: the flower symbol of Cilento National Park
Primula Palinuri is the famous and fascinating primrose, native to the limestone coasts of southern Campania and Basilicata. Belonging to the Primulaceae family, this species is endemic to some areas of the Tyrrhenian regions of Basilicata and Calabria. The Palinuri primrose is characterized by intense yellow flowers and dark green leaves, and grows spontaneously near the sea, where it is able to withstand adverse climatic conditions and the salty wind.
The morphology of the Primula of Palinuro
Primula is a suffruticose plant with a robust rhizome and a thick rosette of fleshy and viscous leaves. The leaves are leathery but not rigid, with a toothed cartilaginous margin that keeps them attached to the rock. Atop a 15-20cm tall scape grow numerous golden-yellow flowers with a powdery white calyx. The calyx tube is smooth and cylindrical, similar to that of Primula auricula , also known as bear's ear, from the shape of its leaves. However, unlike the latter, the Palinuri Primula does not have a cartilaginous margin on the leaves.
The distribution and Habitat of Cilento's flower
The Primula Palinuri is a species of plant that grows in colonies on the limestone cliffs of the coastal areas of the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, up to an altitude of 200 metres. It prefers north and north-west facing rock faces and grows on the edge of ledges or cliff faces, where its roots penetrate deeply into the accumulation soil. It is often found alongside rupicolous chamaephytic species such as Dianthus rupicola, Iberis semperflorens, Centaurea cineraria, Daucus gingidium, Limbarda crithmoides and Crithmum maritimum.
The primula's growth area is relatively small and fragmented, limited to the Campania coastal strip of Capo Palinuro a few hundred meters from the B&B Villamirella and Costa degli Infreschi (Camerota), to the rocky coasts near Scalea in Calabria and in the only locality of Punta Caina on the coast of Basilicata, near Maratea.
The most consistent populations of Primula can be found in Calabria, on the island of Dino and in Praia a Mare. This is probably due to the fact that the Primula flower-growing on the Calabrian islet are difficult to access and therefore not very disturbed. In fact, on the island of Dino it is common to see groups of primroses which, having abandoned their rocky habitat, move through the herbaceous vegetation up to the holm oaks.
Individual specimens or small groups can also be found on the beach, clinging to the Fiuzzi cliff in Praia a Mare, facing Dino Island.
The state of conservation of Primula Palinuri
Primula palinuri is a primrose species endemic to the Campania region in Italy. Due to its rarity and limited distribution, Primula has been declared a protected species both at regional and community level. A 2006 study classified Primula palinuri as Endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. The Primula palinuri stations are all included in the territory of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, which has chosen the flower as the symbol of the park , including its image in its logo. This park protects and conserves this unique and important species for the biodiversity of the region.
The path of the Primula on the coast of Palinuro
If you love trekking and want to discover one of the most beautiful places in Cilento, the Sentiero della Primula is one of the most beautiful path in Palinuro, ideal for you. Located in Capo Palinuro, this path will allow you to explore the whole area, from the mouth of the Mingardo river to Cala Ficocella, the center of the town of Palinuro.
The Sentiero della Primula is about 14 kilometers long and is perfect both for those who love trekking in summer and winter.