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 Drought Tolerant Questions

Deer resistant native plants for Eagle Scout project in Urbandale IA
April 27, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My son is planning his Eagle Scout Project doing some landscaping for the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary. The facility has asked him to use only plants native to Iowa. Can you su...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lambs ears wilting in heat from Fredericksburg TX
October 19, 2011 - 3 days ago I had professional landscaping done in an area with plants that tolerate heat & sun well. We planted 7 healthy, large lambs ear & mulched. Everything planted is doing well except the lambs ...
view the full question and answer

Native turf grass for acreage in Denison TX
January 27, 2014 - I have recently moved to Denison TX where we have 5+ acres of true crosstimbers land. I am looking for a native turf grass that will do well in sandy soil and with the water provided by nature. The m...
view the full question and answer

Sun loving plants for flower bed by the pool in Weatherford Texas
October 03, 2011 - We have a 40' long x 2 1/2' wide flowerbed along our pool. It is in full sun with the pool deck across the front and a 6' privacy fence across back. Also, the level of the bed is 18" below the l...
view the full question and answer

Straw that broke the camel's back.
September 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I keep forgetting which day I am supposed to water and my St. Augustine lawn has turned into the neighborhood eyesore. Where can I go to learn more about this drought tolera...
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