Friday, June 19, 2015

Two Species of Oenothera (Evening Primrose)

Oenothera speciosa has taken over my gerbera daisy bed. A few years ago I threw some evening primrose seed  in  a bed which up till then had been occupied largely by gerbera daisies and roses. It took about 2 years for them to take hold, and now I have just left the battlefield, They are such simple beautiful flowers that I let them bloom and enjoy them. After most of the blooms are gone I hoe them out, but they continue to re-sprout, so it's a task I do several times a season
My mother used to refer to these as cornbread flowers, I assume it was because they are so plain, yet beautiful, These pink wildflowers are virtually indestructible and you can often see them blooming along the roadside.They bloom most of the month of May

The month of June brings in another evening primrose. It is Oenothera biennis. Their bright yellow flowers open around 8 PM and are worth the a nightly celebration. I like to sit outside close to the bed and watch them open. The sudden unfolding is worth seeing, and more than once. They are pollinated by sphinx moths. Japanese beetles consider them delicious.
Sundrops and several other evening primroses can often be seen along roadsides, but this one  is a biennial, only making a foliage rosette the first year, and dying after it makes seed. It's flowers are large (3/4 inches across). It opens in the evening and closes as the sun begins to warm the next day. the sad drooped blossoms are not likely to attract any attention during the day. But just wait til evening!

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