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Common Evening Primrose

Common Evening Primrose

Common Evening Primrose

The evening primrose is a flowering plant in the family Onagraceae, native to Europe and Asia. The flowers of the evening primrose open during the day, but in darkness close as the day ends. Today, the evening primrose is grown as a decorative plant.The evening primrose was introduced to Europe in the early 17th century as an ornamental plant in botanical gardens, without recognition of their ancient use as medicine. However, Indigenous tribes in North America (namely the Cherokee, Iroquois, Ojibwe and Potawatomi) were using the plant as food and medicinal crop for hundreds of years.The roots can be eaten raw or cooked like potatoes. They can be used from the young plant, from September until the first flowering stem is developed. If soaked in water and boiled the taste is similar to black salsify root.

Plant

Since the evening primrose is a light-dependent germinator it is important that the seeds are not planted too deep into the soil (0.5–1.0 cm deep). The cultivation of evening primrose is thus suitable for no-till farming, but the plants require an intense mechanical weed control. The tiny seeds (thousand kernel weight: 0.3–0.7 g) need approximately two to three weeks to germinate and are therefore very susceptible to the outgrowth of weeds.The flowers of this night-flowering biennial open in the evening and close by noon. The plant takes 2 years to complete its life cycle, with basal leaves becoming established the first year, and flowering occurring the second.

The roots are edible, and the seeds are important as bird feed. Most of the evening-primroses have yellow flowers. Showy Evening-primrose (O. speciosa) has pink or white flowers.Common Evening Primrose occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map), where it is native. This common plant is particularly conspicuous during late summer or fall. Disturbed areas are favored in both natural and developed habitats, including mesic to dry black soil prairies, sand prairies, thickets, glades, lakeshore dunes, abandoned fields, roadsides and railroads, slopes of drainage ditches, vacant lots, etc. Sometimes this plant is cultivated in wildflower gardens, from which it may escape. (Source:www.illinoiswildflowers.info)

 

 

 

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