Sundays after church, my dad would pile the family into the car and take us for a drive through the countryside just outside boundaries of the big city. We would see miles of delicate pink flowers lining the edges of the roads, the cracks in the sidewalk, and the banks of the hills.
Pink evening primrose is one of the wildflowers of my childhood. Some people may call it a weed, but this plant holds a special place in my heart. When I see them in bloom, it’s a reminder of carefree childhood afternoons spent watching the countryside go by in the back of an old Cadillac with the sun beaming through the windows.
My favorite shade of this flower is a vibrant, rose pink but these flowers are sometimes pale pink to almost white. Interestingly, the paler colors tend to be found in the northern range of this plant and the darker, brighter pinks tend to be in the southern states.
Each flower lasts only one day! It will open in the evening and close mid-morning. So, if you want to see them, you’ll need to catch them quick.
I have heard some people call this flower a buttercup, but to me, those will always be the tiny yellow wildflowers that you find in the grass in the summer and tickle under your chin. You know, the ones that, if they left pollen on your chin meant you were boy crazy. Anyway, it just goes to show that common names can be difficult to use when talking about plants.
Other common names for this plant include showy primrose, showy evening primrose, and Mexican evening primrose.
About Pink Evening Primrose
Pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) is native to Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, and Mexico, but it has naturalized in 22 other U.S. states. Originally found in prairies, meadows, and along the edges of woods, I often see these growing in urban areas along roadsides and ditches.
It’s a perennial and spreads pretty rapidly, so if you plant it in your garden, be sure you put it somewhere that you don’t mind getting colonized by this wildflower. It can make a good groundcover, especially since it likes full sun and can grow in almost any soil.
Pink evening primrose attracts pollinators, particularly native bees. It is deer resistant and the seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.