Oenothera elata Kunth ssp. hirsutissima (S. Watson) W. Dietr.

Hairy Evening Primrose
Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)


Hairy evening primrose is an erect, somewhat stoutly-stemmed herbacious biennial to short-lived perennial growing to 7' tall. The stem is reddish and covered with soft, short hairs.  The lower leaves are from 2" to 8" long, oblanceolate, wavy-margined, and sessile to subsessile.  The cauline leaves are oblanceolate to elliptic, generally dentate to subentire.  The flowers are large and showy, bright creamy yellow, with reflexed greenish sepals and four broadly obovate petals.  There are eight stamens and a stigma with four slightly fleshy lobes. The fruit is a ± straight, tapering capsule containing irregularly pitted seeds.  This evening primrose has 2 or 3 subspecies depending on whether you consult Munz or Jepson, and may be seen up to 9000' in elevation, and this subspecies inhabits mostly moist inland places in many parts of California, blooming from June to September.  It is fairly easy to differentiate it from its close relative, ssp. hookeri, by the absence of the red blister-like hair bases, a picture of which is shown on the page for that taxon here.  These pictures were taken in the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve near San Diego.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Oenothera 2) elata 3) hirsutissima.
Pronunciation: ee-no-THEER-a eh-LAY-ta her-soo-TI-si-ma.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.