On the 15th of March 2003 we found Dionysia mira at an altitude of approx. 2000m in the Jebal Akhdar mountains in the north of Oman. It was the first dionysia we found on this trip. During the days before we already had searched for it on Jebal Shams, with just over 3000m the highest summit in Oman. We knew it has a very localised distribution and is only found above about 2000m. Because the summit area is a restricted military zone, we were not able to go to the summit and we already had given up hope to find it! But this day we were lucky, just along side the spectacular graded road crossing the Jebal we found this species. Many of the plants were already past flowering, because they were growing on a very steep slope I had to climb my way up in order to make some pictures. As most of the time, going up is much easier than coming down! So, after taking the pictures I was happy to be on firm ground again! Dionysia mira is the most primula like of any dionysia species, and is also the only species to be found so far south. Its therefore amazing to see these rather fragile plants growing in such barren mountains. In cultivation Dionysia mira is not very difficult and can be easily propagated by cuttings and seed.
Tufted perennial to 40cm across, the stems becoming woody with age, covered in the remains of leaf-bases. Leaves in lax rosettes, oblong to oblanceolate, 2.5-8.3cm long, with a slightly scalloped and blunt-toothed margin, covered on both surfaces by hairs and glands and with white woolly farina beneath. Bracts leaf-like, but smaller. Flowers borne in a scapose inflorescence composed of 3-7 whorls of flowers, one above the other; corolla yellow, the tube 15-18mm long, the limb above the other; corolla yellow, the tube 15-18mm long, the limb 7-9mm diameter, with entire oval lobes. Oman, Jebel Akdar, Jebel Aswad and Jebel Sharm, on sloping limestone rocks or cliffs, 1500-1900m. The most primula-like species, relatively easy in cultivation; treat it in a similar way to Primula floribunda or P. forrestii, keeping plants relatively dry in autumn and winter. Can be increased by stem and leaf cuttings, by division or from seed. It is not often seen in cultivation other than in Botanical Gardens, probably due to it’s somewhat ungainly habit.
Reference: ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY PLANT ENCYCLOPAEDIA
Some other interesting websites:
Greek Mountain Flora
Botanical Garden of the University Tübingen Germany
Gothenburg Botanical Garden Sweden
Utrecht Botanic Gardens Netherlands
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh UK
Alpine Garden Society Encyclopaedia