Monday, August 10, 2009

Evening Primrose - Oenothera

Although we have had a cool, wet summer so far, my plants seem to be happy. I have been taking photos, but have not had time to post them all. Here is one that has already finished blooming.

This is my evening primrose. It is a herbaceous perennial. This plant was one of the only plants in the garden when we moved into this house. I have transplanted it often. Some years I have a lot of them and in other years, like this year, they have been crowded out by other plants. I hope to have more room next year and then I will place these in a better spot.
The flowers on Evening Primrose open in the late afternoon. They have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses. The young roots can be eaten as a vegetable and the young shoots as a salad. The plant has been used to prepare an infusion which is supposed to have astringent and sedative properties. It has been called "King's cureall", because it was used for everything from gastrointestinal disorders to asthma, whooping cough and to treat wounds and bruises.

In the following photo you can see the unique stigma with four branches, which forms an x-shape. Only certain bees are able to pollinate this flower. And given that it only blooms in the late afternoon and evening it would seem that it would never form seeds. But this does not seem to be a problem. It is easy to grow and its bright yellow blooms are a delight. There are about 125 species in this genus, but I have no idea which one I have.

Family: Onagraceae. Genus: Oenothera.
Common Name: Evening Primrose

1 comment:

  1. What a pure clean yellow that primrose is... do they have a scent?

    What beauties.