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Oenothera biennis

Common Name(s):
Evening primrose
Categories:
Perennials, Wildflowers
Comment:


An upright biennial in the Onagraceae family.  It commonly grows in fields, prairies, glades, thickets, waste ground, disturbed sites, and along roadsides and railroad right-of-ways. This plant naturalizes easily and works well planted along boarders or makes an excellent addition to a wildflower, cottage, or herb garden. It is highly drought tolerant. Flowers open at dusk and close again in the morning when hit by sun, hence the common name of evening primrose.  Fruits are capsules (narrow seed pods to 1 1/2” long) which split open when ripe to release numerous seeds (to 100 seeds per capsule). Plants die after setting seed, but will naturalize in the landscape.

Wildlife Value:  Flowers are fertilized by night-flying moths which are attracted by the mild lemon flower fragrance and by bees in the early morning before closure. Seeds attracts birds. Members of the genus Oenothera support the following specialized beesMelissodes (Apomelissodes) fimbriatus and Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) oenotherae.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and powdery mildew may occur.

Season:
Spring to fall
Height:
3-5 ft.
Flower Color:
Yellow
Foliage:
In the first year, it produces a basal rosette of shallow-toothed, lanceolate, light green to olive green leaves (to 4-8” long and 2” wide). In the second year, and upright, hairy, reddish-green flower stem (can be multiple stems) with spirally arranged leaves rises from the center of the rosette to 3-5’ tall, topped by a showy summer to fall (June to September) bloom. Leaves are elliptic to lance-shaped leaves, stalkless, wavy-toothed.
Flower:
1-2 in. four-petaled, 4-sepals, 8 stamens and a prominent style with a cross-shaped stigma. Petals are pale lemon yellow and bowl-shaped. Flowers bloom in a multi-flowered terminal panicle, they open in the evening and remain open through morning, closing in the heat of day.
Site:
Poor to average well-drained soil; sun
Exposure:
Full sun to partial shade
Regions:
Mostly eastern and central North America
Origin:
Canada, United States
Life Cycle:
Biennial or perennial
Tags:
naturalize, wildflower, sun, summer, specialized bees, wildflower garden, bees, drought tolerant, birds, nectar, pollinator, perennial, moths, fall, borders, cottage garden, yellow, spring, wildlife, butterflies, herb garden

NCCES plant id: 2669

Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Anita Gould, CC BY-NC - 4.0
Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Andreas Rockstein, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Andreas Rockstein, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Andreas Rockstein, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Andreas Rockstein, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Frank Mayfield, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Oenothera biennis Oenothera biennis
Bill Rogers, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0