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The humble primrose - flower of Devon
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

Primroses in Broadhembury
The primrose has been a symbol of Devon for centuries

When a vote was held to find Devon's favourite flower, there was only ever likely to be one winner.

The primrose - which traditionally heralds the start of spring - was chosen by the people of Devon as the flower which best sums up the county's natural heritage.

The vote was organised in 2004 by Plantlife International, the charity for the conservation of wild flowers.

Thousands of people across the UK took part in voting for their county flower.

In Devon, the primrose came out on top.

Buckland Wine primrose
Buckland Wine primrose - a native of Devon

For centuries, the little yellow flower thrived, and there are stories of them being sold by the sack-full.

They just love Devon's high-banked country lanes and hedgerows.

In past centuries, Devon's old paper mills used to send primrose blooms to customers because the flower was seen - even then - as a symbol of a breath of fresh Devon air.

As well as the common primrose, Devon is also home to local varieties, including the Buckland Wine primrose, which has red flowers.

Because of Devon's climate, soil and geographical position, the wild primrose can still be widely found in woodland and countryside right across the county - but it's nowhere near as common as it used to be.

Building developments and modern farming methods have taken their toll.

As a result, Devon County Council launched a Primrose Action Plan to try and safeguard the species for future generations.

A county council survey also found that primroses were still growing throughout Devon, and that people see the flower as part and parcel of the county's natural heritage.

Plantlife International organised the national 'county flower' vote following evidence of an alarming decline in our native flowers - and to increase public awareness about their plight.

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