Oenothera biennis

Evening Primrose

Botanical description: Oenothera biennis is typically found in dry open fields, vacant lots, along roadside and railroad embankments, in tree pits and growing through small cracks. At home in disturbed sites, it is often considered a pest despite being a North American native. Evening primrose appears to stand tall and bright within its wild surroundings, with striking bright yellow lemon-scented flowers branching from a basal rosette. A biennial that blooms in late spring, the plant exhibits remarkable diurnal ephemeral qualities - closing its flowers for the day, only to open in the evening and through the night. The flowers develop into tall spikes of distinctive woody capsules upon maturity, which persist through the winter into the following season. The sweet inflorescence and nectar, edible roots and shoots, and nutritious seeds are attractive qualities to hummingbirds, moths, small mammals and deer. It is most commonly known to humans for its medicinal applications which include treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders, asthma, and even obesity. Oil is extracted from the seeds and is most commonly taken for premenstrual problems. Leaves and flowers are used in many homeopathic remedies to reduce aches and to counteract flaws in complexion.