A persistent misunderstanding

It’s something you can look forward to again and again every year, brightening up your home or patio with cheerful spring colours and, adding some fresh green plants too, depending on your taste. At this time of year, Primulas are readily available. The well-known little rascals with their bright colours (Primula acaulis) or Primula obconica Touch Me, intended for use indoors.

And about the latter, there is still a persistent misunderstanding.

The remark we see and hear so often online and in the shops is: “no, not buying that plant, it makes you itch”. And yes, in times of old that was indeed possible if you were allergic to the culprit, the substance called primine. Breeders and growers tried for decades to develop a variety that was free of this substance, in vain. But in 1986 there was a breakthrough. In collaboration with the Wageningen University, Patty Schoneveld succeeded in breeding a variant that transpired to be 100% free of primine. A long time elapsed between the discovery and actually being able to market the plant, 14 years in all, 14 years of extensive testing, producing, further refining and perfecting.

These primine free Primula obconica have been available under the very apt and meaningful name ‘Touch Me’ since 2000. Now, in the Netherlands, there’s an active growers association called Touch Me+ whose members grow these cheerful plants and monitor the quality. In supermarkets, garden centres and florists, you can (usually) recognise this plant by the label, or the cheerful pot sleeve which clearly states the name Touch Me. Even now, in 2016, the plant is still regularly tested to ensure that it can be guaranteed primine free. Would you like to know how? Then click here.

So next time you see these bright spring flowering plants, will you get them? Their cheerfulness is infectious, isn’t it, but remember – at most they can give you spring fever, but certainly not the itch.

Spread the word and help dispel this persistent misunderstanding!

Be inspired and gather ideas for fun things to do with Touch Me from these films.

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