Oenothera Pilosella OR''

Oenothera Pilosella OR''

Oenothera Pilosella

Names: The genus name Oenothera, comes from two Greek words, oinos for "wine" and thera for "to imbibe". This is an old name give by Theophrastus (371-286 BC), a pupil of ARISTOTLE and the first important botanist of antiquity, to an unidentified plant, whose roots when eaten and were said to establish a desire for wine - others say it would do away with the effects of wine. Still others think it is a corruption of the Greek onotheras which refers to a chase or a hunt or a pursuit. All meaningless today. The species name, pilosella is from pilosus for "hairy" and from ella for "a little" meaning "a little hairy, referring to the hairs on the plant stem.


Notes: Prairie Sundrops is not indigenous to the Garden area but was listed on Martha Crone's 1951 inventory of plants in the Garden at that time under the name "Meadow Sundrops" or Oenothera pratensis which today refers to this plant - O. pilosella. Its not clear when it first arrived in the Garden, but Martha noted it in bloom in 1938 and noted planting it in 1946. A photo of the Garden Office taken in 1949 shows an extensive planting in the front of the office. It is not native to Minnesota - introduced here as well as in neighboring Wisconsin. Its native range in North America is generally east of the Mississippi River in the U.S. excluding the SE Atlantic coast states and in Canada it is known in Ontario and Quebec. (Source: www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)

Oenothera pilosella is similar to Calylophus serrulatus except it has longer hairs on the stems. The leaves are oval, tapering to both ends, larger (2 1/2” by 1/2”), without teeth, and long-hairy above and below. The flowers are larger with petals 3/4” long on a 7/8” floral tube, the ovary is 1/2” long, and the sepals are 1/2” long and very hairy. The fruit is shorter (3/8” long) with eight ridges and spreading hairs. Flowering is from early to late June, and fruiting begins in mid-June. O. pilosella is infrequent on sandy, moist prairies. (Source: uipress.lib.uiowa.edu)

There are seven species of Oenothera found in Minnesota that are considered native: O. biennis, Common Evening Primrose with two varieties; O. clelandii, Cleland's Evening Primrose; O. laciniata var. laciniata, Cut-leaved Evening Primrose; O. nuttallii, Nuttall's Evening Primrose; O. parviflora, Northern Evening Primrose, in two varieties; O. perennis, Perennial Evening Primrose; and O. rhombipetala, Rhombic (or Fourpoint) Evening Primrose. (Source: www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)



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