01 June 2014

Common Evening Primrose is Oenothera biennis

The large yellow flowers of Common Evening Primrose are the main reason we allow them a place in our gardens. Most gardeners would consider them to be weeds but we see them as pollinator food for moths and enjoy their flowers. They are large plants and re-seed to maintain their presence so if you decide to put in a few seeds, leave plenty of space for them.

Oenothera biennis is a biennial, meaning that the plants we are enjoying in flower this year got their start last year. Each flower is open one evening before fading but the plant pumps out plenty of flowers for several weeks so that's not important.

Oenothera biennis native range
In rough places the plants may not reach their full potential; in garden soil they often grow to 4 feet tall by the end of the season.

If you are a health food and herb shopper, you probably know about Evening Primrose Oil. I used it for years for hair health and others use it for skin conditions such as eczema.The gamma linolenic acid in the seeds is used for arthritis.One of its common names is King's cure-all.

There are 140 or more plants in the Oenothera genus. They are not related to the little shade plants called Primrose that proliferate in moderate climates such as the CA to OR coast.

Sand Mountain Herbs offers the seeds 100 for $1.95. If you are local you can come get one of our seedlings before the weeding is completed.

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