Showy Evening Primrose

Photo of showy evening primrose plant with flowers
Scientific Name
Oenothera speciosa
Onagraceae (evening primroses)

Showy evening primrose is a low-growing perennial, either trailing or upright. Flowers usually single, from upper leaf axils on a long peduncle, 4-petaled, large, pink or white, to 3 inches across, yellow at the center, with darker pink veins. Blooms May–July. Leaves linear to lance-shaped, tapering to a stemlike base, coarsely toothed.


Height: to 1½ feet.

Where To Find
image of Showy Evening Primrose distribution map

Statewide. Most common in our southern and eastern counties, rare in northern sections. Cultivated and locally introduced statewide.

Occurs in fields, prairies, pastures, waste areas, rights-of-way, and other disturbed sites, often covering large areas. A favorite of native plant gardeners. Cultivated garden selections are being developed.

A showy, drought-tolerant native plant for wildflower gardening, it can spread (sometimes aggressively) by roots and seeds, forming dense colonies in sunny locations.

The flowers are visited by a variety of insects, and the foliage is eaten by several animals ranging from beetles and moth larvae to woodchucks, rabbits, and deer.

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About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!