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Oenothera californica (S. Watson) S. Watson

 

California evening primrose

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”
Speciescalifornica“Of or from California”

About plant names...

California evening primrose is native to parts of the southwestern United States, and Baja California. It is found in chaparral, dry plains, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and higher elevation deserts.

Plants: Plant stems are erect or may spread horizontally, and 4-31" (10-80 cm) long.

Leaves: Young plants have a basal rosette of leaves. Older plants also have leaves along the stem. Leaves are lanceolate (lance-shaped), and ¾-6" (2-15 cm) long. Leaves are typically smaller than those of O. deltoides.

Flowers: Flower buds are nodding and hairy, about ¾" (1.9 cm) long and ⅜" (9.5 mm) wide, with reddish stripes along their length. Tips open into white flowers ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) around, with four petals. Each flower has 8 stamens and an anther that splits in two at the tip. Older flowers take on a pinkish tinge. They have pleasant fragrance. They appear from March to June.

Fruits: ¾-2" (2-6 cm) round, usually curved pods, with seeds ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1.5-2 mm) in size.

These are closely similar:

 

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Kelbaker Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/29/2018 · Willow Spring Picnic Area, Red Rock Canyon, NV
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Kelbaker Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 10 × 7" (24 × 16 cm)

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Oenothera californica

Oenothera deltoides
Common Name

California evening primrose

desert primrose
Plant Plant stems are erect or may spread horizontally, and 4-31" (10-80 cm) long. Most of the colorful common names of this plant refer to odd shape it takes after it dies. The stems curl upward and form the “birdcage,” as shown below. Several leafy branches extend from the central stem, along the ground, from 4" (10 cm) to 3' (91 cm). It is these stems that dry and curl.
Flowers Showy, white flowers ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) around, with four petals. Each flower has 8 stamens and an anther that splits in two at the tip. Older flowers take on a pinkish tinge. They have pleasant fragrance. They appear from March to June. Showy, fragrant white flowers that fade to pink as they age, ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) wide. Each flower has a yellow throat, 4 petals, 8 stamens, and a stigma with four wavy hair-like branches. The flowers bloom at night.
Leaves Young plants have a basal rosette of leaves. Older plants also have leaves along the stem. Leaves are lanceolate (lance-shaped), and ¾-6" (2-15 cm) long. Leaves are typically smaller than those of O. deltoides. Leaves are gray-green, forming a basal rosette. Leaves are deltoid, diamond-shaped, or oval, ¾-6" (2-15 cm) long and up to ¾" (1.9 cm), and often lobed, toothed, or grooved.
Fruit ¾-2" (2-6 cm) round, usually curved pods, with seeds ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1.5-2 mm) in size. ¾-2" (2-6 cm) round, usually curved pods, with seeds ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1.5-2 mm) in size.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Chaparral, dry plains, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and higher elevation deserts. Sandy soils such as deserts and beaches.
Type Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Oenothera californica on Wikimedia Commons (Photos)

Oenothera californica on CalPhotos Photos

Oenothera californica on calscape.org

Oenothera californica from the Jepson Manual

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/29/2018 · Willow Spring Picnic Area, Red Rock Canyon, NV
≈ 7 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Cima Road or Nearby, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 6 × 5" (14 × 13 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/29/2018 · Willow Spring Picnic Area, Red Rock Canyon, NV
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Kelbaker Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 7 × 6" (17 × 14 cm)

Oenothera californica description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Cima Road or Nearby, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 5 × 5" (13 × 12 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/29/2018 · Willow Spring Picnic Area, Red Rock Canyon, NV
≈ 4 × 7" (11 × 16 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Kelbaker Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 10 × 7" (24 × 16 cm)

Oenothera californica (California evening primrose)

4/30/2018 · Kelbaker Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Range:

About this map...