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Plants We Love: Missouri primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa)

Missouri primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) is a drought-resistant groundcover with brilliant yellow summer flowers.
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Common name: Missouri primrose, Missouri evening primrose, evening primrose, Ozark sundrops

Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa)

Botanical name:Oenothera macrocarpa (formerly O. missouriensis)

Larger flowers than many other wildflowers; tolerates drought and poor soil; long bloom period. 2004 Kansas Wildflower of the Year.

Flowers: Bright yellow flowers can be 5 inches across, with 4 petals and a slight fragrance. They usually open in late afternoon and they are pollinated by naight-flying sphinx moths. Blooms from spring through summer.

Foliage: Narrow and dark green.

Habit: Grows 1 foot tall and slightly wider. Its low, sprawling habit and ability to self-seed makes it a good groundcover.

Season: Summer.

Origin: Limestone glades, roadsides and rocky prairies of southern and central United States.

Cultivation: Needs full sun and well-drained soil, though it will tolerate light shade. Tolerates drought and poor soil. Can spread by self-seeding, although it is not nearly as aggressive as its cousin pink evening primrose (O. speciosa), which many a gardener has regretted planting because it takes over. USDA Zones 3–7.

Read more Plants We Love

Download Horticulture Magazine's January 2010 issue, which includes the special section "Plants We Love: 50 Great Natives, Award-Winning Plants, and New Introductions"

Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder