Nuttall’s evening primrose

(Oenothera nuttallii)

Conservation Status
Nuttall’s evening primrose
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Nuttall’s evening primrose is a 12 to 32 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from creeping roots.

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

The stem is silvery-white, erect, and branched. Near the base it is hairless and may be covered with white, peeling bark. Near the inflorescence it is covered with minute, glandular hairs.

The leaves are alternate, stalkless, ascending to widely spreading, linear to linear-oblong, ¾ to 3 long, and about ¼ wide. They taper to the stem at the base and taper to a point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is covered with short, white, curved hairs. The margins are mostly untoothed, though sometimes there are barely perceptible teeth near the tip.

The inflorescence is flowers appearing singly in the upper leaf axils.

The flowers are large, showy, and 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 to reddish and covered with minute, fine, short, soft hairs. When in bud it is ½ to 1 long or longer and drooping, with the bud nodding downward. When in bloom the hypanthium elongates to 1 to 1½ in length, straightens somewhat, and the flower is held pointing outward or somewhat upward.

The flowers are ½ to 2 in diameter when fully open. There are 4 sepals and 4 petals. The sepals are green, linear, and strongly bent backward along the flower stalk. The petals are white, turning pink with age; broadly elliptic or egg-shaped, and ½ to 1 long. There are 8 stamens of equal length, 4 united styles, and a distinctive, 4-lobed, cross-shaped stigma. The flowers have a disagreeable odor. They 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 13 16 long, 4-celled capsule. The capsule is round or nearly round in cross section, and has 4 shallow, longitudinal grooves. It is densely covered with minute, white, appressed hairs. Each cell of the capsule contains one row of dark brown, egg-shaped seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

12 to 32

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Prairies, hillsides. Sandy or gravelly soil.

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

June to July

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  1/9/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
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 (dicots)  
  Subclass Rosidae  
  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 Anogra  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Anogra nuttalliana

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Nuttall eveningprimrose

Nuttall’s evening primrose

Nuttall’s evening-primrose

white-stem evening-primrose

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

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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Dan W. Andree
       

I think this is an Evening Primrose...

I read they bloom or open at night and close during the day, but these were open at 2:20 pm in the afternoon that day. It was an overcast or cloudy day, but noticed a few others on the hillside open flowers too.

  Nuttall’s evening primrose
       
       
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  Nuttall’s evening primrose   Nuttall’s evening primrose
       
  Nuttall’s evening primrose    
       

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  Nuttall’s evening primrose   Nuttall’s evening primrose
       
  Nuttall’s evening primrose   Nuttall’s evening primrose
       
       

 

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Dan W. Andree
8/15/2020

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA, Norman Co. Mn.

I read they bloom or open at night and close during the day, but these were open at 2:20 pm in the afternoon that day. It was an overcast or cloudy day, but noticed a few others on the hillside open flowers too.

Nuttall’s evening primrose


     
     
 
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