These beautiful plants belong to the Oenothera genus and are native to the New World. They are not closely related to Primula vulgaris, the common primrose that’s native to Europe. The flowers of many Oenothera species open in the evening, hence the name “evening primrose.” They may open in under a minute. Most species have yellow flowers, but some have white, purple, pink, or red. Most native desert species are white. I see two varieties of evening primroses on my walks. The one above is the desert evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa var. marginata) and as you can see from where it’s growing, it is extremely tolerant of dry conditions. It’s been six weeks since it’s felt any significant rainfall, yet the plant is not wilted and is blooming profusely.
The second variety of evening primrose is Oenothera rosea, also known as the pink evening primrose, commonly called “ditch pinks” because they escape from cultivation and grow along irrigation ditches. This one is thriving in our front garden and gets plenty of water. In full bloom it is spectacular, even from a distance.