Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Oenothera californica, California Suncup

Oenothera californica, California SuncupOenothera californica, California SuncupOenothera californica, California SuncupOenothera californica, California SuncupNodding bud; Oenothera californica, California Suncup

Scientific Name: Oenothera californica
Common Name: California Suncup
Also Called: California Evening Primrose, California Eveningprimrose, California Evening-primrose
Family: Onagraceae, Evening Primrose Family
Synonyms: (Oenothera deltoides var. arizonica)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual, perennial;
Size: Up to 30 inches, usually much shorter.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; new plants are rosetted, stems decumbent or ascending, new shoots from lateral roots.
Leaves: Green; upper or cauline stems with lanceolate, entire to pinnately lobed.
Flower Color: White; large flowers from upper leaf axils, flower buds nodding, fruit cylindric, straight or curved.
Flowering Season: February to May.
Elevation: 500 to 2,500 feet; below 7,500 in California.

Habitat Preferences: Open disturbed areas, sandy or gravelly areas; in California in dunes, desert scrub to pinyon-juniper or pines.

Recorded Range: Tufted Evening Primrose is found in the southwest United States in AZ, CA, NV, UT and in northern Baja California and northwest Mexico.

In Arizona it is occurs in central Arizona in Maricopa County and in the northwest in Mohave County.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Oenothera californica.

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.

There are 3 sub-species in Oenothera californica:
Oenothera californica subsp. avita, California Evening Primrose (AZ, CA, NV, UT);
Oenothera californica subsp. californica, California Evening Primrose (CA);
Oenothera californica subsp. eurekensis, Eureka Dunes Evening Primrose (CA);

Comments: Also see in Southwest Desert Flora: Tufted Evening Primrose, Oenothera caespitosa; 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: 01/20/2016, 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, as Oenothera deltoides var. arizonica.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/20/2016).
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 01/20/2016 ),5471,5476
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information