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

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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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

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