Oenothera laciniata

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Oenothera laciniata
Oeno laci.jpg
Photo by Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Oenothera
Species: O. laciniata
Binomial name
Oenothera laciniata
Oeno laci dist.jpg
Natural range of Oenothera laciniata from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Cutleaf evening-primrose[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Raimannia laciniata (Hill) Rose.[1]

Varieties: none.[1]


"Usually pubescent, branched biennials or perennials. Leaves alternate, the upper reduced, sessile or subsessile, the lower frequently petiolate. Inflorescent terminal, flowers solitary from axils of bracts or reduced upper leaves. Calyx tube (hypanthium above ovary or capsule) prolonged; lobes (sepals) 4, acute. Petals 4, yellow, pink, or white, usually widely obcordate. Stamens 8, exserted; stigmas 4. Capsules oblong to obovoid or clavate; seeds numerous, not comose."[2]

"Pubescent biennial, usually with decumbent, basal branches, stems to 7.5 dm long. Leaves oblanceolate to elliptic, pubescent to glabrate, acute, irregularly lobed or pinnatifid, repand or almost entire, base attenuate; petioles absent or to 3 cm long on basal leaves. Calyx tube 2-2.5 cm long, lobes 6-12 mm long; petals yellow to reddish, 8-25 mm long; anthers 3-6 mm long. Capsules pubescent, cylindric, usually slightly arcuate, 2.5-4 cm long, 3-4 mm broad; pedicels absent or to 5 mm long; seeds brownish, angulate, 1.2-1.4 mm long, ca. 0.8 mm broad, pitted."[2]


O. laciniata ranges from Maine to North Dakota, then south to southern Florida and Texas. There are also populations in California.[1]



In the Coastal Plain in Florida and Georgia, O. laciniata occurs in shrub bogs, pine flatwoods, and pine savannas. It is observed to be a ruderal species and has been found in disturbed areas such as sandy vacant lots, moist roadsides, fallow fields, and railroad beds. Soil types include sandy loam, loam, and loamy sand. Associated species include Drosera, Calopogon, Briza, and Cerastium.[3] It is a common weed found in soybean, corn, and cotton crops in the southeastern U.S.[4] It has become an invasive species in central and south America, Europe, Africa, and Australia.[5]


O. laciniata flowers from January through July with peak inflorescence in April and fruiting from January through June.[3][6] Flowers typically bloom at night.[7]

Seed dispersal

The fruits are dehiscent.[5]

Seed bank and germination

Seeds can remain viable in the soil for decades.[8]

Fire ecology

It has been observed growing in annually burned pine savannas.[3]

Herbivory and toxicology

Oenothera laciniata has been observed at the Archbold Biological Station to host wasps from the Vespidae family such as Polistes dorsalis hunteri.[9] Additionally, O. laciniata has been observed to host Aphids such as Aphis sp. (family Aphididae), ladybugs such as Coccinella septempunctata (family Coccinellidae), plant bugs from the family Miridae such as Lopidea sp., Lygus lineolaris and Pseudatomoscelis seriatus.[10]

Seeds are eaten by bobwhite quail, morning doves, and American goldfinches. Cottontail rabbits and white-tailed deer browse on the foliage.[7]

Diseases and parasites

It is a host for clouded and tarnished plant bugs that are common pests of cotton.[11]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

It is a noxious weed in soybean, cotton, and corn crops in the southeastern U.S.[4] In a reduced-tillage system, it may be difficult to control when timely applications are not made.[12] This species' small size and slow growth make February and early March herbicide applications most effective.[13]

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.[14] Historically, it was used by Cherokee Indians to make body wash.[15]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

Guy, C.B. 1995. Preplant weed management in Arkansas no-till and stale seedbed cotton. Pages 86-89 in M.R. McClelland, T.D. Valco, and R.E. Frans. Edx. Conservation Tillage Systems for Cotton, Fayetteville, AR. Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station Special Report. 160.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. 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. 750-2. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: October 2015. Collectors: Miguel Altieri, Loran C. Anderson, Robert Blaisdell, K. Craddock Burks, Andre F. Clewell, George R. Cooley, A.H. Curtiss, Suellen Folensbee, Robert K. Godfrey, M. Knott, R. Komarek, Robert Kral, Richard S. Mitchell, Joseph Monachino, J.B. Nelson, Gwynn Ramsey, Cecil R. Slaughter, Bian Tan, L.B. Trott. States and Counties: Florida: Alachua, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Franklin, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Taylor, Wakulla. Georgia: Grady, Seminole. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Webster, Theodore M. 2004. Weed survey-southern states: broadleaf crops subsection. South. Weed Sci Soc. 58: 291-306
  5. 5.0 5.1 [[1]] Accessed February 10, 2016
  6. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 12 DEC 2016
  7. 7.0 7.1 [[2]] Illinois Wildflowers. Accessed: February 12, 2016
  8. [[3]] University of Tennessee Extension. Accessed: February 12, 2016
  9. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  10. Discoverlife.org [4]
  11. [[5]] University of Tennessee Extension
  12. Fairbanks, Douglans, E., D.B. Reynolds, J.I. Griffin, P.R. Vidrine, and D.I. Jordan. 1995. Preplant weed control with Gramoxone Extra and Roundup D-Pak mixed with Harmony Extra. Pages 90-93 in M.R. McClelland, T.D. Valco and R.E. Frans. Eds. Conservation-Tillage Systems for Cotton. Fayetteville, AR: Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station Special Report. 160.
  13. Clewis, S. B., D. L. Jordan, et al. (2007). "Influence of Environmental Factors on Cutleaf Eveningprimrose (Oenothera laciniata) Germination, Emergence, Development, Vegetative Growth, and Control." Weed Science 55(3): 264-272.
  14. Fernald, et al. 1958. Edible Plants of Eastern North America. Harper and Row Publishers, New York.
  15. [[6]] University of Florida IFAS Extension Accessed: February 12, 2016