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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Oenothera elata ssp. hookeri (Hooker's evening-primrose)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Oenothera elata ssp. hookeri

Oenothera elata Kunth ssp. hookeri (Torr. & A. Gray) W. Dietr. & W.L. Wagner

Hooker's Evening-primrose, Giant Evening-primrose

Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)

Synonym(s): Oenothera biennis var. hookeri, Oenothera hookeri, Oenothera hookeri ssp. montereyensis


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This is one of the largest and showiest of the evening-primroses. The biennial spends its first year as a low rosette of leaves. The second year, clusters of bright yellow, 3 in., flowers are borne atop the leafy 3-6 ft. stems. These flowers unfurl in late afternoon or at dusk, are quite fragrant, and have four heart-shaped petals.

Other subspecies of O. elata occur throughout the West, east to Montana, Kansas, and Texas.

The subspecies of this plant is named for William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865), who was Director of Kew Gardens from 1841-1865. He wrote “Flora boreali-americana” and many other works. He was founder and editor of “Journal of Botany”.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Biennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Distribution: W. KS to CA, s. to Mex.
Native Habitat: Sandy stream banks; low, marshy areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: This plant tends to become weedy.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Plant untreated seed in the fall. As with other biennials, it is best to plant the seeds two successive years to establish a continuously flowering population.
Seed Treatment: Seeds germinate without pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.2 - Wildflower Network Operates in Louisiana, Wildflower Handbook Published, Researc...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Oenothera elata ssp. hookeri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Oenothera elata ssp. hookeri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Oenothera elata ssp. hookeri


Record Modified: 2023-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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