Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Oenothera speciosa, Mexican Evening Primrose

Oenothera speciosa, Mexican Evening PrimroseOenothera speciosa, Mexican Evening PrimroseOenothera speciosa, Mexican Evening Primrose

Scientific Name: Oenothera speciosa
Common Name: Mexican Evening Primrose
Also Called: Buttercups, Pink Buttercups, Pink Evening Primrose, Pink Ladies, Pinkladies, Showy Evening Primrose, Showy Eveningprimrose, Showy Primrose (Spanish: Amapola del Campo)
Family: Onagraceae, Evening Primrose Family
Synonyms: (Hartmannia speciosa, Oenothera delessertiana, Oenothera speciosa var. childsii)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 20 inches more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; rosetted, colonizes in open areas from rhizomes, stems weak, mostly ascending, erect.
Leaves: Green, some red in autumn; oblanceolate to elliptic, margins wavy.
Flower Color: Pink, white fading pink or rose-purple; flowers large, up to 2 inches, showy from upper axils, inflorescence nodding; fruit ribbed, cylindric.
Flowering Season: February to July.
Elevation: Below 1,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Disturbed places and cultivated in gardens and later invading yards.

Recorded Range: Mexican Evening Primrose is found in the central, southern and southwestern parts of the United States. It is also native to northern and central Mexico.

In Arizona it is found in the central and southern parts of the state but is most abundant as a cultivated species and escapee in the Phoenix area.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Oenothera speciosa.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: Over 80 species in Oenothera throughout all of North America. 24 or so species in Arizona and California, 28 or so species in New Mexico and 47 or so species in Texas.

The Plant List includes 706 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Oenothera. Of these 150 are accepted species names.

Comments: Mexican Evening Primrose is a native species that is invasive when cultivated. It is a popular landscape plant as a ground-cover, but hard to control. Flowers last a day and the flowers release a scent at dusk. This species has several benefits to wildlife as the seeds attract birds and small mammals and the flowers provide a source of nectar for native bees. The Native Plant Information Network has an excellent summary of Mexican Evening Primrose.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora: Tufted Evening Primrose, Oenothera caespitosa; California Suncup, Oenothera californica; Crownleaf Evening Primrose, Oenothera coronopifolia; Velvetweed, Oenothera curtiflora; Dune Evening Primrose, Oenothera deltoides; Hooker's Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata; Large Yellow Desert Primrose, Oenothera primiveris; Rose Evening Primrose, Oenothera rosea; Mexican Evening Primrose, Oenothera speciosa and Scarlet Beeblossom, Oenothera suffrutescens.

Date Profile Completed: 01/27/2016, updated format 09/28/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/20/2016).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 01/27/2016]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 01/27/2016),5471,5497
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information