Pink Evening Primrose

In keeping with the current theme of showing some of the variety of the Evening Primrose family, I am presenting some photos, a little information and the range of the Pink Evening Primrose. Spring is really here in North Texas when we find this along the highways, in the fields and especially in our front yard.

A little over a year ago Martha and I did a post on Pink Evening Primroses that are naturalized in our front yard. Here is the essence of that post:

“Suburban Wildflowers
Pink Evening Primrose on the Curb
Once about 20 years ago, before I mowed my yard for the first time in the spring, I had a single Pink Evening Primrose come up on the curb next to the street in the front yard. I assume a seed(?) must have blown in on the wind. Martha would not let me cut it down, and we watered it through the spring and summer and fall and winter. Well, you get the picture, we took care of it. The next year there were a few more, and the next year more, and so on. You can see what has happened. I now mow about half of them down at the first mowing. Next year I may let them all bloom and see what the yard looks like. Also, I mow them in the fall when they quit blooming and reclaim my full lawn for a few months. They actually seem to like the mowing, as it spreads by rhizomes, and doesn’t harm the old plants. Much of the plants’ leaves grow close to the ground in the grass.
Nodding buds open into pink or white flowers about two inches across. We have never had white ones, since it all started with a single plant from unknown sources. (Small Acorns into Mighty Oaks grow). I guess that’s true. It turns out that watering is not that necessary since it is a drought resistant plant.”

Be sure to click on the photos.

Oenothera speciosa
PEP-on-CurbMy Front Yard Curb

The nice thing about them is that they haven’t seemed to violate any weed ordnances. At least I haven’t had any complaints, and also, in this section of town now, a lot of people leave a patch to bloom for a while. When they are not blooming, they are only about a foot tall.

Be careful what you ask for!

My father once saw the lovely patch of pink evening primroses in our yard and requested some to put in his yard. We obliged, dug up a few, and transplanted them for him to the raised section of his back yard. For 2-3 years, he really enjoyed looking out the window into his back yard to see them blooming for so many months.

Then one year he says that they have taken over his yard, and we must take them back. We tried mowing them, and they just spread. We said that we couldn’t dig them all up, but we tried. To no avail, they spread and filled in the spaces. We fought them for years and finally everyone just gave up and enjoyed their beauty.

A closer view

Go to this page to see the thumbnails and click on the thumbnails for all of the variations in this spectacular and showy flower.

Distribution for this Genus.

Texas Distribution

Oenothera speciosa Nutt.
Pink evening primrose, Showy evening primrose, Mexican evening primrose, Showy primrose, Pink ladies, Buttercups, Pink buttercups
Onagraceae (Evening-Primrose Family)
USDA Symbol: OESP2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

Pinkladies or pink evening-primrose is an upright to sprawling, 1 1/2 ft. perennial, which spreads to form extensive colonies. Its large, four-petaled flowers, solitary from leaf axils, range in color from dark pink to white. Nodding buds, opening into pink or white flowers, are in the upper leaf axils on slender, downy stems. The delicate-textured, cup-shaped blossoms are lined with pink or red veins. Foliage is usually linear and pinnate, although leaves can be entire and lance-shaped depending on locality. A hardy and drought resistant species that can form colonies of considerable size. The flowers may be as small as 1 (2.5 cm) wide under drought conditions. The plant is frequently grown in gardens and escapes from cultivation.

As the common name implies, most of these species also open their flowers in the evening, closing them again early each morning. The flowers of some members of the genus open in the evening so rapidly that the movement can almost be observed. Pink evening primrose, however, opens its flowers in the morning, closing each evening. To further complicate matters, populations in north Texas tend to open in the evening.

Kingdom: Plantae  – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae – Evening Primrose family
Genus: Oenothera L. – evening primrose
Species: Oenothera speciosa Nutt. – pinkladies

Line Drawing

Line drawing:
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 603.


USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (14 September 2009). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Native Plant Database.

Marshall Enquist, Wildflowers of the Texas Hill country.

Troy and Martha


About Troy

Retired Scientist and Naturalist. Avid Bible reader
This entry was posted in Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, USDA Plant Database, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Pink Evening Primrose

  1. Sandy says:

    This looks beautiful at the curb. We have a tall primrose here, but nothing like yours growing wild.

    I didn’t know gaura grew wild, either. Thanks for adding information about the plants, your site is a great place to learn!

  2. John says:

    I’m mostly used to the yellow evening primroses. Thanks for posting about the pink ones.

  3. DougT says:

    Although the map lists this species as native to Illinois, it is not present as a native species up in the Chicago area. I thought about planting some in my yard one (it does well up here in perennial gardens) but heard that it could be really invasive. Your post suggests that my concern was well founded.

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