Evening Primrose Plant Uses and Care: Oenothera biennis at a glance: Indigenous to USA; 50cm – 2m
Planting position: Full sun.
Suitable for all growing regions without humidity.
Requires a little watering during ongoing dry spells.
Watch out for fungal diseases, snails and aphids.
Propagate from spring-sown (in situ) seed.
Truly a biennial, but treated as an annual this species produces fragrant yellow flowers, which open towards evening, thus the name. These summer flowersare hibiscus-like and its foliage is prominently mid-ribbed.
O. macrocarpa (30cm) is a smaller variety with yellow summer flowers.
This 1 – 2m tall plant lives 2 years, but self-sows and is perfect for dry, open soils in full sun. As Evening Primrose Plant Uses range from edible to medicinal – this plant is a must have, especially in coastal drought-stricken gardens. It does not need a lot of water and needs to be left alone.
Evening Primrose seeds can be sown in sown in autumn or very early spring.
The yellow spring- and summer flowers only appear at night or on overcast days and each flower lasts a single night. These flowers can be smelled from afar as they also have a strong lemon scent. The small seed pods appear at the end of summer and contain many red seeds.
Evening Primrose Plant Uses: food
All of the Evening Primrose is edible.
– The highly nutritius (pre-flowering, early spring) Evening primrose leaves contain tannins, flavonoids, mucilage and sugar, resin and phytosterols. Add them to your diet and menu as you would baby spinach.
– Evening Primrose seeds are high in proteïn, oil and essential amino acids.
– The (young) stems are peeled first and then eaten raw, steamed or fried.
– The fruit, or seed pods make a good flash-fried snack with dip.
– The edible spring and summer flowers are sweet and can be added to deserts, salads or as garnish.
– Treat and eat the roots like any root vegetale. Roots from pre-flowering young plants are best.
Evening Primrose Plant Uses: Medicinal
The flowers and seeds are harvested during summer to be dried for teas or to extract the oils. The entire plant can be dried in autum, after flowering, for herbal use later.
Evening Primrose seeds are known for their amazing oil – which has been used to treat eczema, the Sjögren-syndrome, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopausal symptoms, polyarthritis and multiple sclerosis.
The Native Americans traditionally boiled the entire plant as a tonic tea for energy. They also recommended the roots as an external treatment for piles and boils.
Medicinally, Evening primrose can be consumed as dried – in the case of leaves and flowers – as well as oils – and capsules is the most common form.
Experts advice should always be seeked before self-medicating and recommend dosage amounts should strictly be kept to.
Caution should especially (but not solely) be taken by:
– pregnant and breastfeeding mothers;
– people prone to epilepsy, seizure disorders, schizophrenia or mania;
– patients with bleeding disorders or taking medicine that may increase bleeding as Evening Primrose can increase the risk further.
Evening Primrose Plant Uses: Permaculture
– The night flowers attract night time pollinators
– Considered to be allelopathic to weeds by interfering with the germination and growth of weeds.
– Because of the above reason, this is an excellent addition for a garden as cover-crop. Match it with a legume as it needs a bit of nitrogen.
Other Common Names and Synonyms:
Fever plant, great evening-primrose, kings-cure-all, night willow-herb, scabish, scurvish, tee primrose, sun drop, suncups,
Brunyera biennis Bubani,