What is 'Farina'?

Many species of Primula exhibit a white or yellowish powder on their leaves and even flowers.   This is not a kind of fungus such as powdery mildew, but is a substance produced by healthy plants.  In fact, to most Primula enthusiasts it enhances the appearance of the plant.  For example, it is a delightful (and required) embellishment of the Show Self and Edged Auriculas.  It even gives one of the species its name: Primula pulverulenta means 'powdery primrose'.  In some species this powder is even fragrant!

This powder has more than one name. The term 'farina' means flour, which is what the powdery coating looks like.  Another word is 'meal', which is just another word for flour!  In some cases 'paste' is used, usually denoting a much thicker kind of white coating in the center of some Auricula flowers.

The articles on the following two web pages try to explain what farina is.  They are taken from early issues of our quarterly journal.  The information is probably still current, but if anyone has more up-to-date information, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Editor of the Primroses quarterly.


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