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Oenothera fruticosa

Phonetic Spelling
oh-no-THER-ah froo-tih-KOH-sah
Description

Sundrops is a native, perennial, erect, day-flowering member of the evening primrose family. It is native to all parts of North Carolina except the high mountains, where although it is striking when seen along roadsides and in meadows, it never achieves the beauty possible under cultivation. It is also found in dry forests, glades, and rock outcrops. 

Sundrops prefers moderately fertile, dry, well-drained soil in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Good winter drainage is essential. It can spread quickly in ideal situations but isn't terribly aggressive. The yellow flowers are short-lived but they occur in a succession over a long period. In the south, the rosettes will be purplish-green throughout the winter.

Use this plant in hot dry places such as wild gardens, rock gardens, erosion control on banks, meadows, native plant areas, or cottage gardens. This plant was named the 1989 NC Wildflower of the Year. Var. microcarpa can be found in boggy depressions. Var unguilata is found in sandhills and moist/wet savannas.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘African Sun’
    Rounded compact habit
  • ‘Cold Crick’
    More compact
  • 'Fireworks'
    Bronze foliage, red stems and buds, yellow flowers
‘African Sun’, ‘Cold Crick’, 'Fireworks'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#sun#yellow#heat tolerant#perennial#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#colorful#cottage garden#specialized bees#herb garden#food source#fire#medium flammability#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#native garden#rock gardens#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#poor soils tolerant#food source fall#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#Coastal FACU#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘African Sun’
    Rounded compact habit
  • ‘Cold Crick’
    More compact
  • 'Fireworks'
    Bronze foliage, red stems and buds, yellow flowers
‘African Sun’, ‘Cold Crick’, 'Fireworks'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#sun#yellow#heat tolerant#perennial#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#colorful#cottage garden#specialized bees#herb garden#food source#fire#medium flammability#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#native garden#rock gardens#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#poor soils tolerant#food source fall#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#Coastal FACU#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Oenothera
    Species:
    fruticosa
    Family:
    Onagraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used by native Americans for medical purposes
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , WV
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Hummingbirds nectar at the flowers and songbirds eat the seeds. Members of the genus Oenothera support the following specialized bees: Melissodes (Apomelissodes) fimbriatus and Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) oenotherae.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 4 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The seed capsule is shaped like a club at the top and tapers to a slender stalk. Fruits are available May-November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    4-petaled bright yellow flowers are up to 2 inches across. Blooms April- August.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The basal leaves are 1-4 inches long, lanceolate to oblanceolate and evergreen in warmer winters areas. They may have a purplish-green color in winter. They have entire or slightly wavy margins and are moderate to densely hairy. Stem leaves are opposite and shorter, 3/4- 1.5 inches long, and narrow elliptical.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stem is reddish to green with hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy