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Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana (Bigfruit evening-primrose)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana

Oenothera macrocarpa Nutt. ssp. incana (A. Gray) Wagner

Bigfruit Evening-primrose, Silver Leaf Primrose , Bigfruit Evening Primrose

Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)

Synonym(s): Oenothera macrocarpa var. incana, Oenothera missouriensis var. incana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This plant is a wonderful silver-leaf version that looks very similar to the common green leaf Oenothera macrocarpa and grows in similar situations. The light and bright lemon colored blooms are stunning with the silver leaves. It is a strong grower when situated in a well drained gravelly soil in full sun. It looks great spilling over a wall where the large blooms can be appreciated up close.


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


Native Habitat: Edwards Plateau north to the High Plains in limestone knobs, prairies, and dry hillsides. Well-drained sand, caliche, limestone.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Conditions Comments: The silver foliage remains attractive all summer. In late fall, it may need to be trimmed to tidy it up. Large lemon colored flowers bloom mostly in the spring, but also after rains and through the summer and fall. The blooms open in the evening and close the next afternoon. Stunning color combination in leaf and bloom.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Propagation Material: Softwood Cuttings
Description: Seeds may not be viable. Tip cuttings most often used to propagate.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX

Web Reference

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

Additional resources

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


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

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