Oenothera filipes

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Oenothera filipes
Oeno Gaura fili2.jpg
Photo by John R. Gwaltney, Southeastern Flora.com
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Oenothera
Species: O. filipes
Binomial name
Oenothera filipes
(Spach) W.L. Wagner & Hoch
GAUR FILI dist.jpg
Natural range of Oenothera filipes from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: threadstalk gaura[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Gaura filipes Spach; Gaura michauxii Spach[1]

Varieties: Gaura filipes var. filipes; Gaura filipes var. major Torrey & A. Gray: [1]


Oenothera filipes is a perennial herbaceous species.

"Usually coarse, branched annuals or perennials. Leaves mostly alternate. Inflorescence terminal, spike-like, with or without axillary branches from upper leaves or bracts. Petals white to pink; stigmas 3-4 lobed. Fruit woody, indehiscent."[2]

"Plant to 1.5 m tall, stems pubescent. Leaves linear, elliptic, or narrowly lanceolate, to 6 cm long and 6 mm wide, pubescent, glabrous, or puberulent, acute, coarsely toothed to undulate, attenuate; sessile or subsessile. Inflorescence diffusely branched, the branches uncinulate. Spelas and petals 4-7 mm long; anthers 1.6-2.5 mm long styles exerted 5-7 mm. fruits acutely 4-angled, ovoid, 3.5-4 mm long, 3-3.5 mm broad, minutely uncinulate to almost glabrous; pedicels 2-3 mm long, uncinulate."[2]


O. filipes ranges from South Carolina west to Tennessee and southern Indiana, south to northeast Florida and eastern Louisiana.[1]



O. filipes occurs in dry or well drained sandy soils and sandy loam.[3] It seems to be most common in areas that receive full sun or are only partially shaded.[3] It can be found in longleaf pine flatwoods or sandhills, scrub oak barrens, pine-oak woodlands, and limestone glades.[3] However, it can also appear in areas of disturbed habitat, including roadsides and common use recreational areas.[3] O. filipes responds negatively to soil disturbance by agriculture in Southwest Georgia.[4]

Associated species include Pinus palutris, Solidago, Gaillardia, Polianthes, Berchemia, Dichromema, Setaria, Hedyotis, Schoenus nigricans, Muhlenbergia carpillaris, and Quercus laevis.[3]


This species flowers from April through July.[1]

Seed dispersal

This species disperses by gravity.[5]

Fire ecology

This species has been found in habitat that is often maintained by fire.[3] Populations of Oenothera filipes have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[6][7]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Evening-Primroses can be used as a potherb for their asparagus-like quality of greens, and Native Americans would use the pith to make soup. In England, there was a problem of using the leaves as a tea filler.[8]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 754-5. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Gary R. Knight, John B. Nelson, Robert K. Godfrey, E. Tyson, R. D. Houk. Ann F. Johnson, Wilson Baker, R. Komarek, MacClendons, and G. Wilder. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, and Walton. Georgia: Thomas.
  4. Kirkman, L.K., K.L. Coffey, R.J. Mitchell, and E.B. Moser. Ground Cover Recovery Patterns and Life-History Traits: Implications for Restoration Obstacles and Opportunities in a Species-Rich Savanna. (2004). Journal of Ecology 92(3):409-421.
  5. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  6. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  7. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  8. Fernald, et al. 1958. Edible Plants of Eastern North America. Harper and Row Publishers, New York.