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Oenothera deltoides

Oenothera deltoides Torr. & Frém.

 

Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMyrtalesIncludes myrtles, leadwoods, loosestrifes, pomegranates, evening primroses, many others
FamilyOnagraceaeWillowherb/evening primrose family
GenusOenotheraDerivation uncertain: 1. Greek ονος θηρας (onos theras), or “donkey catcher.” 2. Or οινος θηρας (oinos theras), “wine seeker.” 3. Or Latin oenothera, “a plant whose juices may cause sleep”
SpeciesdeltoidesGreek for “triangular” (Greek letter delta, Δ) (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)

About plant names...

Desert primrose is native to the southwestern United States, and northern Mexico.

Identification: Most of the colorful common names of this plant refer to odd shape taken by it after it dies. The stems curl upward and form the ”birdcage,” as shown below. If you don’t happen to be looking for dead desert primrose, though, the plant has gray-green leaves near the base. (In several of the photos here, it is difficult to distinguish the leaves from those of surrounding plants. The desert primrose leaves are about 4" (10 cm) long and up to ¾" (1.9 cm) wide.) Stems 2-10" (5-25 cm) high are topped by showy, fragrant white flowers that fade to pink as they age, up to 3" (7.6 cm) wide. The flowers bloom at night. Several leafy branches extend from the central stem, along the ground, from 4" (10 cm) to 3' (91 cm). It is these branches that curl to form the “birdcage.”

Oenothera deltoides (Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern)

Branches surrounding the main stem lie on the ground, curling upward when the plant dies. Photo source unknown.

Online References:

Oenothera deltoides at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Oenothera deltoides on Oceanlight.com, a natural history stock photography site by Phillip Colla

Oenothera deltoides on CalPhotos

Oenothera deltoides at the Land Retirement Demonstration Project by the U.S. Department of the Interior (PDF)

Oenothera deltoides on ZipcodeZoo.com

Oenothera deltoides (Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Oenothera deltoides description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.

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Oenothera deltoides (Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA
≈ 5 × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Oenothera deltoides (Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Oenothera deltoides (Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Oenothera deltoides (Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Basket Evening Primrose, Lion in a Cage, Devil's Lantern)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Range:

About this map...