Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Onagraceae, Evening Primrose or Willowherb Family

The Onagraceae or evening primrose or willowherb family is a relatively small family whose species are forb/herbs, shrubs or trees.

Members of Onagraceae are widely distributed and occur on every continent including subarctic and tropical climates. The type genus, Onagra (now called Oenotherea) was named after John Lindley (1799-1865) an English botanist, in 1836 in the second edition of A Natural System of Botany.

Common family characteristics are the showy brightly colored flowers with 4 petals and sepals. Leaves are usually opposite or whorled, simple and lanceolate.

There are 2 important species in this family; evening primroses (Oenothera) and fuchsias (Fuchsia). Evening primroses are popular and widely as ornamentals and many are fairly drought-resistant. They are pollinated by insects including moths and very specialized (vespertine) bees and provide food for butterfly larvae and some moths of the genus Schinia which feed exclusively on this genus.

Naturally occurring Oenothera are temporary or casual colonizers in open disturbed areas such as sand dunes, roadsides. They are native to the Americas commonly called evening primrose, suncups, and sundrops. Evening Primroses should not be confused with true primroses of the genus Primula. A number of perennial members of the genus are commonly cultivated and used in landscaping in the southwestern United States.

Some of the more significant North American species include the following genera: Epilobium, Oenothera, Ludwigia, Clarkia and Camissonia.

North America, the family has 12 genera and 447 accepted taxa overall for Onagraceae. World-wide The Plant List includes 45 plant genera with 3,290 accepted species names and includes a further 832 scientific plant names of infraspecific rank for the family. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

  • Camissonia micrantha, Small Evening Primrose (added 02/18/2017)
  • Chylismia claviformis, (=Camissonia) Browneyes (added 02/18/2017)
  • Chylismia brevipes, Yellow Cups
  • Clarkia purpurea, Winecup Clarkia (added 02/18/2017)
  • Epilobium canum, (=Zauschneria) Hummingbird Trumpet
  • Eremothera boothii, Woody Bottle-Washer (added 04/16/2017)
  • Eulobus californicus, (=Camissonia) California Suncup
  • Ludwigia peploides, Floating Primrose Willow
  • Oenothera caespitosa, Tufted Evening Primrose
  • Oenothera californica, California Suncup
  • Oenothera coronopifolia, Crownleaf Evening Primrose
  • Oenothera curtiflora, (=Gaura parviflora) Velvetweed
  • Oenothera deltoides, Dune Evening Primrose
  • Oenothera elata, Hooker's Evening Primrose
  • Oenothera primiveris, Large Yellow Desert Primrose
  • Oenothera rosea (=Gaura epilobia), Rose Evening Primrose
  • Oenothera speciosa, Mexican Evening Primrose
  • Oenothera suffrutescens, (=Gaura) Scarlet Beeblossom
  • Tetrapteron palmeri, Palmer Evening Primrose (added 02/18/2017)
  • Date Family Profile Completed: 12/17/2005, updated 04/16/2017
    References:
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
    https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=display&classid=Onagraceae
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 12/17/2015).
    http://www.theplantlist.org/1.1/browse/A/Onagraceae/
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Onagraceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 November 2015, 09:46 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Onagraceae&oldid=691363298> [accessed 17 December 2015]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Oenothera', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 November 2015, 11:13 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oenothera&oldid=689325596> [accessed 17 December 2015]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'John Lindley', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 November 2015, 21:16 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Lindley&oldid=690193092> [accessed 17 December 2015]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Fuchsia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 November 2015, 03:24 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fuchsia&oldid=691329171> [accessed 17 December 2015]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Fuchsia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 November 2015, 03:24 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fuchsia&oldid=691329171> [accessed 17 December 2015]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Fuchsia (color)', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 November 2015, 02:08 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fuchsia_(color)&oldid=692349093> [accessed 17 December 2015]