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Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Myrtales > Family: Onagraceae > Genus: Oenothera

Distribution and habitat

Native to western USA and Canada. Naturalised in southern Africa

Ecological interactions


Produces seeds mainly through self-pollination (Johnson and Agrawal 2005) but seeds can also be produced through pollination of the flowers by a variety of insects. Hawkmoths, such as Agrius convolvuli, are major pollinators (Kawaano et al. 2005). A monoterpene called linalool is the main constituent of the volatile chemicals given off by the flower in the evening for attracting pollinators. In addition, there are visual signals, with a strong UV-absorbent spot in the centre of the corolla (Kawaano et al. 2005).  



  • Johnson MTJ, Agrawal AA. 2005. Plant genotype and environment interact to shape a diverse arthropod community on evening primrose (Oenothera biennis). Ecology 86(4): 874-885.
  • Kawaano S, Odaki M, Yamaoka R, Odatanabe M, Takeuchi M, Kawano N. 2005. Pollination biology of Oenothera (Onagraceae). The interplay between floral UV-absorbancy patterns and floral volatiles as signals to nocturnal insects. Plant Species Biology 10(1): 31-38.


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