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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 1-2 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

45 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


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.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
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

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: 2020-05-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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