FACT SHEET: Pale Evening Primrose

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Common Name: Pale Evening Primrose
Scientific Name: Oenothera pallida
Family: Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae)
Distribution: common and widely distributed in western North America
Habitat: desert to foothill and ponderosa pine habitats, often in sandy soil

Habit: perennial herb, often from creeping rootstocks
Height: 0.5-1'
Spread: 1-3'
Foliage Color: Green, often tinged with reddish.
Leaves: lance-shaped, toothed or divided.
Flower Color: white
Flower Form: flowers borne multiply along the stems, each 1-2" across, with four spreading petals, eight stamens attached at the throat and a cross-shaped stigma
Flowering Season: spring to summer

Cultural Requirements:
Requires full sun and prefers well-drained, infertile soils. Fully cold-hardy. Very drought-hardy(i.e.,needs no supplemental water after establishment, anywhere in Utah), but somewhat tolerant of overwatering.

Culture: The small, almond-shaped seeds are usually relatively nondormant and may be sown in containers without pretreatment. Field sowings should be made in early fall or spring.

Uses and Notes of Interest: One of the most fragrant of Utah wildflowers, pale evening primrose often forms large patches on sandy hillsides in Utah's canyon country. The species is found along roadsides throughout the state. Its pure white blossoms open in late afternoon, but in cool weather may last well into the following day before turning pink and withering. At night, the blossoms are visited by sphinx moths, their principal pollinators. The flowers are so heavy with pollen that people who draw close for a sweet smell are often left with their noses dusted yellow. Evening primrose seeds are borne in elongate, somewhat woody, upright capsules that split open at the tips. They are easily collected by tipping the capsules into a paper bag.