Oenothera elata – Hooker's Evening Primrose

Oenothera elata - Hooker's Evening Primrose, Western Evening-primrose

Oenothera elata - Hooker's Evening Primrose, Western Evening-primrose

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Oenothera elata

Synonym: Oenothera hookeri

Common Names: Hooker's Evening Primrose, Western Evening-primrose

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Biennial, Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert (upper elevations), Upland, Mountain, Riparian. This plant typically grows in moist locations and is usually found in riparian areas here.

Flower Color: Yellow, Orange (when old and wilted)

Flowering Season: Summer, Fall. This showy wildflower blooms after the summer monsoon rains have begun.

Height: To 4 feet (1.2 m) tall

Description: The flowers open late in the day and then close the following morning. The flowers are up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) across and have 4 broadly heart-shaped, yellow petals that turn a reddish orange color as they age and wilt. The flowers are followed by slender, green, 2 inch (5 cm) long seedpods. The leaves grow along the stems and are green and lanceolate or elliptical in shape. The stems are slender and upright, and the plants are tall and narrow.

Special Characteristics

Butterfly Plant – The flowers attract hummingbird moths.

Edible – The raw or cooked young leaves, cooked young seedpods, and the boiled roots are edible but have a mucilaginous texture.

Fragrant – The flowers are nocturnal and fragrant at night.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae – Evening Primrose family
Genus: Oenothera L. – evening primrose
Species: Oenothera elata Kunth – Hooker's evening primrose

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map