Evening primrose – Herb garden

Evening primrose - Herb garden

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is an ornamental, flowering, herbaceous biennial, grown up to 1 to 6 feet tall. The stems are upright and woody. Branches form occasionally and always in the upper portion of the stem. The lower part of the stem is often tinged purple and somewhat hairy. The leaves are alternate (1 leaf per node), 5 to 20cm long, and have edges that are wavy or slightly toothed. Leaves either attach directly to the stem or to a very short leaf stalk connected to the stem. Leaf shape resembles the head of a lance. Leaves on the lower part of the stem are often purplish and somewhat hairy. The midrib of each leaf may be reddish. The flowers are yellow, 1 to 2 inches wide, with four bilobed petals. The flower structure has an invisible to the naked eye bright nectar guide pattern. This pattern is apparent under ultraviolet light and visible to its pollinators, moths, butterflies, and bees. It blooms from June to September.The fruits are woody cylindrical pods about 1 inch long that taper toward the end. Each capsule is divided by lengthwise partitions into 4 cells. When dry, seed pods split downward revealing 4 chambers and releasing numerous seeds. Seeds are dark reddish-brown, 1/16 inch long, have a rough surface. All part of this plant can be used. The leaves can be cooked and eaten as greens. The roots are edible if collected during the first year before the plant blooms. They can be boiled like potatoes and allegedly taste like sweet parsnips. The flowers are sweet and can be used in salads or as a pretty garnish.

Scientific Name: Oenothera biennis
Common Names: Evening-primrose, evening star, sun drop, weedy evening primrose, German rampion, hogweed, King’s cure-all, or fever-plant.

Evening primrose - Herb garden





How to grow and maintain Evening-primrose:

Evening primrose grows well in full sunlight or partial shade.

Evening primrose thrives well in moderately fertile, well-drained Loam, Sandy soil with pH level 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic), 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) and 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Evening primrose grows will in ideal temperatures range from 18 °C to 22 °C / 64 °F to 72 °F).

Water regularly during the growing season. Keep the soil lightly moist and well-drained water conditions. Don’t overwater.

Apply any organic fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Evening primrose can be propagated by seed (direct sow after the last frost) or propagated by division (Divide in the autumn in warm areas or in spring)

Prune the plant once blooming has finished.

Gather the young leaves in early summer. To harvest the seeds, look for the seedpods in midsummer to late summer, after the flowers have faded. Collect the pods when their tops turn brown; inside the pods, the mature seeds should be dark brown and hard. Store the seed in a cool, dark place. Harvest the roots in fall. Considered an invasive weed in some areas, the plant self-seeds freely.

Benefits of Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose):
Oenothera biennis seed contain a fragrant oil. The seed oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that the body uses to manufacture a prostaglandin vital to soothing inflammation and supporting the immune system. A syrup made from the flowers is also an effective treatment for whooping cough.

The Evening-primrose oil is potentially very valuable in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, pre-menstrual tension, hyperactivity. It is also taken internally in the treatment of eczema, acne, brittle nails, rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol-related liver damage.

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