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Oenothera biennis

Oenothera biennis L.

Oenothera biennis L. ssp. caeciarum Munz

Oenothera biennis L. ssp. centralis Munz

Oenothera biennis L. var. pycnocarpa (Atk. & Bartlett) Wiegand

Oenothera muricata L.

Oenothera pycnocarpa Atk. & Bartlett

Common Evening Primrose

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMyrtalesIncludes myrtles, leadwoods, loosestrifes, pomegranates, evening primroses, many others
FamilyOnagraceaeWillowherb/evening primrose family
GenusOenotheraDerivation uncertain: 1. Greek ονος θηρας (onos theras), or “donkey catcher.” 2. Or οινος θηρας (oinos theras), “wine seeker.” 3. Or Latin oenothera, “a plant whose juices may cause sleep”
Speciesbiennis“Completing its life cycle over two growing seasons” (biennial)

About plant names...

Common evening primroses are indeed common, native throughout much of the world and found everywhere except deserts in North America. Evening primroses are so-called because their flowers open at night.

Identification: Plants are 3-5' (91-152 cm) tall, rarely up to 8' (2.4 m). Usually composed of a single central stem, plants sometimes branch out multiply if there is enough light, looking almost shrublike. Stems are light green or red, with short whitish hairs. Leaves are lanceolate—long, thin, sharp-tipped ovals 1¾-8" (5-20 cm) × ⅜-⅞" (1-2.5 cm), light or olive green. Plants have a two year (“biennial”) life cycle. In the first year, the leaves form a rosette at the base of the plant. In the second, they are arranged around the stem in a spiral pattern. Flowers are pale to bright yellow, with four petals, up to 2" (5 cm) across; they open at night. They are hermaphrodites—each flower has both male and female structures. Under ultraviolet light, a “nectar guide” appears: landing lights, if you will, for pollinators such as bees. Fruits are capsules ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) × ⅛-³/₁₆" (4-6 mm).

Online References:

Oenothera biennis on Missouriplants.com

Oenothera biennis at Illinois Wildflowers

Oenothera biennis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Oenothera biennis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Oenothera biennis on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Oenothera biennis on Wildflowers of the United States

Oenothera biennis from the Jepson Manual

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/2/2009 · Gordon & Kathy’s, Prospect, ME
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.6 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/6/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 7" (22 × 18 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

9/4/2017 · Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, Ayer, MA
≈ 4½ × 3½" (11 × 8.9 cm)

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/8/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/4/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4½ × 4½" (12 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3½" (11 × 9.2 cm)

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/2/2009 · Gordon & Kathy’s, Prospect, ME
≈ 3 × 4" (7.5 × 9.9 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 19 Aug 2013.

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Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

9/4/2017 · Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, Ayer, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm)

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/6/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 9" (17 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/2/2009 · Gordon & Kathy’s, Prospect, ME
≈ 2½ × 4" (7 × 9.9 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/6/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

The primrose moth (Schinia florida) on his preferred haunt. · 8/18/2013 · Bemis Road, Townsend, MA
≈ 2½ × 2" (6.2 × 5.8 cm)

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

9/19/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

7/28/2009 · Near Nashua River Boat Ramp, Groton, MA
≈ 17 × 15" (44 × 39 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/4/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/1/2009 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
≈ 7 × 11" (17 × 27 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

9/10/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

7/28/2009 · Near Nashua River Boat Ramp, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.1 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

8/8/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

The visitor is a primrose moth (Schinia florida). · 8/4/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4½ × 4" (12 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

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