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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Oenothera caespitosa Nutt.
Tufted evening primrose, Gumbo evening primrose, Gumbo lily, Fragrant evening primrose
Onagraceae (Evening-Primrose Family)
Synonym(s): Oenothera cespitosa
USDA Symbol: OECA10
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Rosettes of oblong leaves with pointed tips subtend tufted evening-primrose’s 4-6 in. flower stalks. Each large, white flower has four, heart-shaped petals and eight yellow stamens. The flowers open in late afternoon, close the next morning, and wither to pink or red-violet. Lateral roots may give rise to new perennial plants.
Tufted Evening-primrose is a member of the evening-primrose family (family Onagraceae), which includes mainly herbs, rarely shrubs or trees with often showy flowers. Primrose ultimately derives from a Latin word meaning first and the true primroses (Primulaceae), unrelated to evening-primroses, are among the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Apparently in the early 1600s when an eastern United States species of Oenothera was being described, its sweet scent reminded the botanist of wild primroses of Europe. He gave the name to those plants and it stuck.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution: WA
to w. ND,
s. to s. CA
& NM Native Habitat:
Dry buttes, exposed hillsides & open woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, clay soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Seed is eaten by many birds.
Use Medicinal: Root pounded into pulp and placed on swellings and sores .(Kindscher)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Sow unstratified seed in fall; stratified in spring. Germination is low. The long, woody roots are difficult to divide, but separation of offsets from the parent plants is effective.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds as they ripen throughout the season and store in a cool, dark area.
Seed Treatment: None required.
Commercially Avail: yes
Record Last Modified: 2009-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff