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?

Share

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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 28, 2009

From: Tucson, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Range and adaptability of evening primrose from Tucson AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the natural range of the evening primrose? What adaptations does it have to live in the arid Southwest?

ANSWER:

There are 12 plants with the common name "evening primrose" in our Native Plant Database. There are 4 native to Arizona, so we chose to give you the ranges of those. 

Calylophus hartwegii ssp. pubescens (Hartweg's sundrops) -blooms yellow March to August. Range in Arizona from USDA Plant Profile. Range in North America

Calylophus serrulatus (yellow sundrops) - blooms yellow April to July.  Range in Arizona from USDA Plant Profile. Range in North America

Oenothera caespitosa (tufted evening-primrose) - blooms white April to August. Range in Arizona from USDA Plant Profile. Range in North America.

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) - blooms white or pink February to July. Range in Arizona from USDA Plant Profile.  Range in North America. 

To try to find out what were the traits of these plants that made them drought resistant, we found three websites that had a great deal of information:  Central Washington Native Plants  Plant Adaptations in Arid Environments; Plant Life in the World's Meditteranean Climates, by Peter R. Dallman, from University of California Press; Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Center for Sonoran Desert Studies How Plants Cope with the Desert Climate.

From this information, we found that the characteristics that the plants share that contribute to their survival are:

Long, narrow leaves, to avoid loss of moisture. Leaves also are hairy or downy, are blue-gray on the underside, and may fold up in the heat of the day.

Most of these plants bloom in the evening, and blooms close the next day when the heat begins to rise, again reducing moisture loss. 

Taproots-the seedlings quickly put down a taproot for moisture, and the mature plant develops a network of fine roots near the surface of the soil.

Plants may go dormant in summer, resprouting with rains.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery


Calylophus hartwegii ssp. pubescens

Calylophus serrulatus

Oenothera caespitosa

Oenothera speciosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Sources for ruellia from Houston
January 19, 2014 - I want to get a bunch of either ruellia nudiflora or ruellia drummondiana in my butterfly garden. But I cannot find it anywhere, and I have no idea where to get plants or seeds. Seems most vendors...
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
March 12, 2009 - Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like oranges in Alpine, TX
August 16, 2012 - There are patches of flat bushy like plants in lawn, smells like orange. Areas may be 10" and spreading, but when pulled has small root. How can I get rid of this plant and what is it?
view the full question and answer

Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
May 02, 2012 - Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider you...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with native plants in Austin
October 06, 2005 - I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center