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