Marcus, Joseph A.
Gaura lindheimeri Engelm. & Gray
Lindheimer's beeblossom, White gaura, Butterfly gaura
Onagraceae (Evening-Primrose Family)
An upright to widely spreading, soft-hairy, 2-5 ft. perennial
with delicate white flowers in elongated terminal and axillary
clusters. The flowers are four-petaled, in one row on the upward side, and turn pink with age. Stamens
are conspicuously long. Stems are solitary
to several and much-branched in the upper portion. A large and showy gaura often forming extensive colonies. Flowers open in early morning. Flower fragrance has sometimes been compared to cat urine.
Gaura is composed of rather weedy plants, with leaves borne singly on the stems and frequently in a basal rosette. The flowers are in spikes or racemes, or are branching. They open in the evening. The 4 petals are on the upper side of the flower, giving it a slightly bilateral symmetry. There are normally 8 prominent stamens
and 1 pistil; these are on the lower side. The stamens
have reddish-brown anthers. The genus
is easily recognized, but the species are sometimes difficult, due partly to a great deal of hybridization.
The species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.
Image Gallery: 18 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
LA , TX Native Distribution:
LA to TX & Mex. Native Habitat:
Prairies; pinelands; pond edges USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Variable. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous.
Conditions Comments: Open vase-shaped plant, branches arching in many directions. Leaf color is dark green in summer, and red, gold or purple in the fall. The flower, white fading pink, has only a few flowers open at a time with new ones opening as stalks grow throughout most. Flowers open in early morning. Tolerant of high heat. Flower fragrance has sometimes been compared to cat urine. Can be invasive.
Aromatic and showy with ornamental blooms. Looks good in the back of a perennial
border or bed. Conspicuous Flowers: