Showy Evening Primrose

Oenothera speciosa
Family

Onagraceae (evening primroses)

Description

Low-growing perennial, either trailing or upright. Flowers usually single, from upper leaf axils on a long peduncle, 4-petaled, large, pink or white, to 3 inches across, yellow at the center, with darker pink veins. Blooms May–July. Leaves linear to lance-shaped, tapering to a petiolelike base, coarsely toothed.

Size

Height: to 1½ feet.

Habitat and conservation

Occurs in fields, prairies, pastures, waste areas, rights-of-way, and other disturbed sites, often covering large areas. A favorite of native plant gardeners. Cultivated garden selections are being developed.

image of Showy Evening Primrose distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide. Most common in our southern and eastern counties, rare in northern sections. Cultivated and locally introduced statewide.

Human connections

A showy, drought-tolerant native plant for wildflower gardening, it can spread (sometimes aggressively) by roots and seeds, forming dense colonies in sunny locations.

Ecosystem connections

The flowers are visited by a variety of insects, and the foliage is eaten by several animals ranging from beetles and moth larvae to woodchucks, rabbits, and deer.