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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Oenothera speciosa Nutt.
Pink evening primrose, Showy evening primrose, Mexican evening primrose, Showy primrose, Pink ladies, Buttercups, Pink buttercups
Onagraceae (Evening-Primrose Family)
Synonym(s): Hartmannia speciosa, Oenothera delessertiana, Oenothera speciosa var. childsii
USDA Symbol: oesp2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Originally native only to central grasslands from Missouri and Nebraska south through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to northeastern Mexico, Pink ladies or Pink evening primrose is an upright to sprawling, 1 1/2 ft. perennial, which spreads to form extensive colonies. Its large, four-petaled flowers, solitary from leaf axils, range in color from dark pink to white. Nodding buds, opening into pink or white flowers, are in the upper leaf axils on slender, downy stems. The delicate-textured, cup-shaped blossoms are lined with pink or red veins. Foliage is usually linear and pinnate, although leaves can be entire and lance-shaped depending on locality. A hardy and drought resistant species that can form colonies of considerable size. The flowers may be as small as 1 (2.5 cm) wide under drought conditions. The plant is frequently grown in gardens and escapes from cultivation.
As the common name implies, most evening primrose species open their flowers in the evening, closing them again early each morning. The flowers of some members of the genus open in the evening so rapidly that the movement can almost be observed. Pink evening primrose populations in the southern part of its natural range, however, open their flowers in the morning and close them each evening. To further complicate matters, populations in the northern parts of its range tend to open in the evening.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen Size Notes:
1-2 feet Leaf:
Medium green. Some leaves red in autumn. Flower:
Flowers 2 inches across
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
White , Pink Bloom Time:
Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul Bloom Notes: In
southern parts of its range, blooms tend to be darker pink or rose and to open in the morning. Northern populations are often paler or white and night-blooming. An average coloration would have shell-pink blooms that transition to white in the center and are veined in a deeper pink. Flowers release a scent starting at dusk. In
the most southerly parts of its range, from Chihuahuan Desert grasslands to northeastern Mexico, blooms whenever temperatures are above freezing. Elsewhere, blooms heaviest during spring, with blooms diminishing in size as the weather gets hotter. Each flower
lasts only a single day.
, WV Native Distribution:
only to grasslands of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and northeastern Mexico. Naturalized elsewhere. Native Habitat:
Prairies, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Hillsides, Slopes, Woodland edges, Forest openings.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Readily colonizes in open areas in a variety of well-drained soils, rich or poor, dry or moist, disturbed or not: loams, clays, sand, caliche, rocky, or gravelly.
Conditions Comments: It cannot withstand complete soil dryness. Plants often go dormant in summer, resprouting with fall rains. Can work as a dense foliage groundcover in shade, but wont bloom without adequate sunlight.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Full sun groundcover with showy flowers
Use Wildlife: Seed capsules attract birds, especially finches, and various mammals.
Use Food: Cook as greens or in salads, best flavor when collected before flowering.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division , Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by seed in fall. After distributing seed evenly, rake into loosened topsoil to ensure good seed/soil contact. Seeding rate is ½ pound per acre but supply is extremely limited.
Seed Treatment: Getting the seed to germinate may be difficult. The pre-germination requirements are not determined.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Remove spent blossoms and fertilize in spring with rose food to encourage more blooms. Allow seeds to completely mature before mowing for reseeding or collecting seed to plant in a new area. To prevent summer dormancy, water sparingly. If gets too aggressive, divide and separate.
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
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From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Fredericksburg Nature Center
- Fredericksburg, TXLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TXPineywoods Native Plant Center
- Nacogdoches, TXSibley Nature Center
- Midland, TXBrackenridge Field Laboratory
- Austin, TXPatsy Glenn Refuge
- Wimberley, TXStengl Biological Research Station
- Smithville, TXTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TXNPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter
- Fredericksburg, TXNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, ORJacob's Well Natural Area
- Wimberley, TXNPSOT - Williamson County Chapter
- Georgetown, TX, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0568
Collected Mar 10, 1990 in Bexar County by Harry CliffeNPSOT 0212
Collected Apr. 19, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0433
Collected May 26, 1993 in Bexar County by Cecil MayoNPSOT 0574
Collected Mar 22, 1990 in Bexar County by Harry CliffeNPSOT 0352
Collected May 19, 1993 in Bexar County by Louise Morrell
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-19
Collected 2006-05-21 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store
Bibref 307 - Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Including recipes, harmful plants, natural dyes, and textile fibers: A Practical Guide
(1999) Tull, D.
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes
(2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest
(1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers
(1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A.
(2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region
(2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
(1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide
(1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas
(2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country
(1989) Enquist, M.
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Record Last Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: NPC, WFS, GDG