New Mexico Wildflowers: Evening Primrose Family

(Onagraceae)

 

Flowers are arranged alphabetically by genus, then by species. If you encounter a slide show, you can hover your cursor over the images to control them.


Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

 

Evening Primrose, white varieties (Oenothera spp.)

 New Mexico has multiple species of white to very pale evening primroses. Despite the name, they bloom in the morning.

 

Short-Fruit Evening Primrose (Oenothera brachycarpa)

In Albuquerque this species exists only as a garden plant. It qualifies for this web page because it's native to southern New Mexico. Look for large four-petaled flowers that turn red as they wither.

 

Hooker's Evening Primrose (Oenothera hookeri)

 

Linda Tarde, Small-Flowered Gaura (Oenothera curtiflora)

Look for hairy stems and hairy alternate leaves, along with flowers like Scarlet Gaura flowers (below) but smaller. Given a chance, this plant will grow to head height. As one of my photos shows, the seed capsules have narrow bases and are four-sided farther out. 

 

The brown bug you see in a couple of images is a stilt bug. You can see other stilt bugs on Linda Tarde on this page.

 

Scarlet Gaura (Oenothera suffrutescens)

These small flowers can start out white or light pink but during the day they grow darker pink. As they shrivel, they turn red. Each flower has four petals. Rather than being spaced evenly, the petals are at 8:00, 10:30, 1:30, and 4:00. Relative to a traditional clock dial, that is. Until recently this plant was known as Gaura coccinea and you're likely to find it listed under that name in wildflower guides.