En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - April 29, 2014

From: Brookshire, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: User Comments, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Synchronized blooming of cutleaf evening primrose from Brookshire TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have cutleaf evening primrose (grandis) that puts on such an enchanting show, opening every evening in late April, precisely at 8:00 , that guests sit in chairs to watch the spectacle. Incredibly, each bud pops open in the blink of an eye. I have never seen anything written about this lovely phenomenon . I know of no other flower that does this. Are my plants unusual? If this is a common trait, I think it should be publicized more.


If you follow this link,Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) to our webpage on that plant, you will find this comment on the blooming habits:

"As the common name implies, most evening primrose species open their flowers in the evening, closing them again early each morning. The flowers of some members of the genus open in the evening so rapidly that the movement can almost be observed."

Obiously, this is also the case with your Oenothera laciniata (Cutleaf evening-primrose), so it has been publicized to a certain extent. From Wikipedia:

"Oenothera is a genus of about 145 species of herbaceous flowering plants native to the Americas. It is the type genus of the family Onagraceae. Common names include evening primrose, suncups, and sundrops."

We think that many of these plants are roadside plants; you could even call them weeds. They are very low growing and with foliage growing along the ground, that possibly the cars whizzing by simply can't see the impromptu show. You are to be congratulated for having recognized this trait, and making it accessible to others.


From the Image Gallery

Cutleaf evening-primrose
Oenothera laciniata

Cutleaf evening-primrose
Oenothera laciniata

Cutleaf evening-primrose
Oenothera laciniata

More User Comments Questions

Clarification of question from Pitcairn PA
April 23, 2013 - What is the best site and book for wild stables in Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Comment from user on Smarty Plants answer
February 12, 2013 - Dear Mr.S I received a very thorough answer to my question about trimming native butterfly plants and wanted to thank you. I see that Ann Van Nest answered the question. I intended to give the reply...
view the full question and answer

Foxglove safety from England
April 21, 2013 - Hi, regarding safety of foxgloves grown near edible plants - foxgloves are good companion plants for vegetables, in case of root vegetables they improve their storage life and quality. Foxgloves prote...
view the full question and answer

Collection dates for Charles Wright in Texas on Flame acanthus page.
September 27, 2010 - Mr. SP- there is a date error for Charles Wright's collection time period in Texas, at least on the Flame Acanthus page of wildflower.org. It states, "The species name of this plant is for Charles W...
view the full question and answer

Mexican species Orbexilum melanocarpum.
January 04, 2013 - This is not a question; just a note to supplement a previous MSP post answering a query about a source for Orbexilum. The "mountain pea" that the original questioner was asking about is the e...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center