Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

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.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Oenothera suffrutescens (Scarlet beeblossom)
Smith, R.W.

Oenothera suffrutescens

Oenothera suffrutescens (Ser.) W.L. Wagner & Hoch

Scarlet Beeblossom, Scarlet Gaura

Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)

Synonym(s): Gaura coccinea, Gaura coccinea var. arizonica, Gaura coccinea var. epilobioides, Gaura coccinea var. glabra, Gaura coccinea var. parvifolia, Gaura coccinea var. typica, Gaura glabra, Gaura odorata

USDA Symbol: OESU3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Scarlet Beeblossom or Scarlet Gaura is a 1-4 ft., colony-forming perennial with several stems, branched near base. The stems and narrowly oblong leaves may or may not be covered with gray hairs. Honeysuckle-like flowers occur on a spike-like inflorescence, 1-12 in. long, which blooms from the bottom to top. The leafy stems of this grayish plant are branched, grow in clumps, and bear at the tips reddish-pink, nodding racemes. Only one ring of the flowers are in bloom at a time. The fragrant flowers are white at first, fading to pink and finally scarlet, all in the same day. The whiteness of the newly opened flowers attracts night-flying moths, the primary pollinators of these plants. By early the next day the flowers are pink, the color intensifying throughout the morning. The flower remains open less than a day.

Species such as this one, formerly placed in the genus Gaura, are typically 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.


From the Image Gallery

41 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: White, fading to pink or red.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , LA , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , NY , OK , SD , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: SK
Native Distribution: Man. to IA Loess Hills & TX, w. to Alt., e. CA & AZ
Native Habitat: Dry prairies; roadsides; disturbed sites

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Scarlet Gaura is extremely easy and care-free. Due to extensive rhizomes, it will form large colonies. It is considered hardier and more manageable than Oenothera linderheimeri.


Description: Propagate vegetatively by by rhizome cuttings in spring or by division of mature plants; tip cuttings in vermiculite and under intermittent mist root in 2-3 weeks.
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:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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 suffrutescens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Oenothera suffrutescens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Oenothera suffrutescens


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

Go back