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.
The genus 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.
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