Cleland’s evening primrose

(Oenothera clelandii)

Conservation Status
Cleland’s evening primrose
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Cleland’s evening primrose is a 16 to 40 tall, erect, biennial forb that rises from a taproot.

In the first year it forms a 3 to 6 wide rosette of basal leaves. In the second year it sends up a flowering stem. It usually dies after bearing fruit once.

The stems are erect or ascending, seldom branched, light green, and densely covered with white, appressed hairs.

The leaves are alternate, ascending to widely spreading, linear to narrowly lance-shaped or linear-oblong, 1¾ to 3 long, and ¼ to ¾ wide. The upper surface is medium green and sparsely covered with short, white, appressed hairs. The lower surface is paler green and densely covered with short, white, appressed hairs. The margins are mostly untoothed, though sometimes there are barely perceptible teeth near the tip.

The inflorescence is a dense, 4 to 12 long spike of numerous flowers at the end of the stem and branches. The central axis of the stalk (rachis) is densely covered with short, white, appressed hairs.

The individual flowers are stalkless. What appears to be a flower stalk is actually a structure formed by the fused bases of the sepals, petals, and stamens (hypanthium). The hypanthium is yellowish-green and covered with straight, stiff, sharp, appressed hairs. When in bud it is to 13 16 long, widely spreading near the rachis then strongly ascending, with the bud held upright. When in bloom the hypanthium elongates, straightens somewhat, and the flower is held at about a 45° angle.

The flowers are crowded and ½ to 1¼ in diameter when fully open. There are 4 green sepals and 4 yellow petals. The sepals are linear, 3 16 to long, and strongly bent backward along the hypanthium. The petals are yellow, broadly elliptic or egg-shaped, 3 16 to long, and usually pointed at the tip. There are 8 equal stamens, 4 united styles, and a distinctive, 4-lobed, cross-shaped stigma. The flowers open around sunset and on cloudy days, and close by noon. They change from closed to fully open in just one minute. They are pollinated by hawk moths or sphinx moths, which feed on their nectar at night. The hypanthium, petals, and sepals are deciduous, withering and falling off when the fruit is formed.

The fruit is a cylinder-shaped, to 11 16, 4-celled capsule. The capsule is round in cross section, 4-sided with rounded angles, curved near the base, and densely covered with white, appressed hairs. Each cell of the capsule contains two rows of dark brown, egg-shaped seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

16 to 40

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Yellow

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Fourpoint evening primrose (Oenothera rhombipetala) flower sepals are much larger, to 1 long. The flower petals are much larger, to 1 long.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry soils. Prairies, fields, roadsides, and waste places. Full sun. Sandy soil.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

June to October

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  12/27/2011      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
  Order Myrtales (myrtles, evening primroses, and allies)  
 

Family

Onagraceae (evening primrose)  
  Subfamily Onagroideae  
  Tribe Onagreae  
 

Genus

Oenothera (evening primroses, sundrops, and beeblossoms)  
  Section Oenothera  
  Subsection Candela  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Oenothera heterophylla var. rhombipetala

Oenothera rhombipetala

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Cleland’s evening primrose

sand evening-primrose

 
       
  The family name refers to the flowers which are partially to fully closed during the day, open in the evening, and close at noon. The plants are pollinated by hawk moths and sphinx moths, which feed on their nectar at night.  
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Hypanthium

A cup-like tubular structure of a flower formed from the fused bases of sepals, petals, and stamens, that surrounds the pistil. Its presence is diagnostic of many families, including Rose, Gooseberry, and Pea.

 

Linear

Long and narrow with parallel sides, as in a blade of grass.

 

Rachis

The main axis of a compound leaf, appearing as an extension of the leaf stalk; the main axis of an inflorescence.

 

Stigma

The portion of the female part of the flower that is receptive to pollen.

       
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Plant

  Cleland’s evening primrose   Cleland’s evening primrose
       
  Cleland’s evening primrose    
       

Inflorescence

  Cleland’s evening primrose   Cleland’s evening primrose
       
  Cleland’s evening primrose    
       

Flowers

  Cleland’s evening primrose    
       

Infructescence

  Cleland’s evening primrose   Cleland’s evening primrose
       
       

 

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