Oenothera rhombipetala (Fourpoint Evening Primrose)

Plant Info
Also known as: Rhombic Evening Primrose
Family:Onagraceae (Evening Primrose)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
  • State Special Concern
Habitat:sun; dry prairies, along roads
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are whorled around the stem at the top of the plant in a spike up to 12 inches long, blooming from the bottom up. Flowers are 1 to 2 inches across with 4 yellow diamond-shaped petals and 8 long yellow stamens surrounding a style with a cross-shaped stigma that typically rises well above the stamens. The 4 sepals behind the flower are narrowly lance shaped,  5/8 to 1 inch long, folded sharply back at flowering. usually in 2 pairs still connected along one edge (connivent). The calyx tube is ¾ to about 1½ inches long and resembles a flower stalk, attached between the base of the sepals and the ovary nestled in the leaf axil. The flowers bloom at night and on cloudy days. One plant may have several spikes, each at the end of branching stems.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are narrow and often twisted with wavy edges, to 4 inches long and ¾ inch wide, covered in short hairs, mostly toothless, with little or no stalk. Attachment is alternate and the leaves are often crowded on the stem. First year plants have a basal rosette of stalked leaves that is up to 6 inches in diameter. Stems are mostly erect, unbranched or branched at the base, also covered in short hairs.


Fourpoint Evening Primrose is on the Special Concern list for Minnesota. At Wild River State Park they've made a serious effort to repopulate the prairie areas with this plant and it seems to be doing quite well. Because of the shape of the petals, it is easy to distinguish from other evening primroses except for Cleland's Evening Primrose (Oenothera clelandii), which also has diamond shaped petals, but usually has smaller flowers and sepals, and its style not as long.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Steve - Sherburne County
on: 2012-02-12 11:12:35

This was growing in a cleared lot for development on the east side of Sand Dunes State Park.

Posted by: Stephen L Thomforde - Cannon Falls
on: 2020-02-13 04:03:09

Once common in the sands along the Little Cannon River outwash plains, S and SW of the the town Cannon Falls. Becoming less common due to both development and also lack of disturbance in old fields. A classic plant associated with Intermediate Disturbance theory. Too much disturbance (development) and too little disturbance (nothing happens) are both detrimental to disturbance obligate species.

Posted by: Marsha - Robbindale
on: 2021-09-03 11:01:08

Found along the trail on the north shore of Crystal Lake.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-09-03 12:48:12

Marsha, I would be inclined to say a different evening primrose is on the shore of Crystal Lake, which is an unlikely habitat for this rare species. If you'd like confirmation on the ID, post some images on the Minnesota Wildflowers Facebook page.

Posted by: Brett W - Anoka County
on: 2023-08-20 14:25:41

Saw a couple of these plants for the first time today near Cedar Creek area. Flowers were definitely larger than others Primrose.

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