Oenothera perennis (Small Sundrops)
|Also known as:||Little Evening-primrose, Perennial Evening-primrose|
|Family:||Onagraceae (Evening Primrose)|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist to average sandy or gravelly soil; fields, meadows, open woods|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||9 to 24 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Blossoms are single in the upper leaf axils, only a few opening at a time in ascending progression up the stem. The yellow flowers are 1/3 to ¾ inch across with 4 round petals, notched at the tip, and several veins radiating from the base. 8 yellow stamens surround a 4-parted style in the center. The green to reddish calyx tube behind the flower resembles a stalk and is about as long as the ovary nestled in the leaf axil. The raceme-like cluster nods to one side, becoming erect where each flower blooms. The leaf-like bracts at the base of each flower are narrower and more sharply tapered at the tips than leaves lower on the stem. Flowers open during the day and close at night.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 1 to 2¼ inches long and up to ¾ inch wide, generally lance-elliptic, toothless, blunt at the tip, tapered to a narrow base, and stalkless. Both surfaces are covered with short appressed hairs. Stems are green to reddish, variously covered in very short hairs, usually erect and unbranched or with some branching on mature plants.
Fruit is an upright, club shaped capsule up to ½ inch long with four prominent, reddish, length-wise ridges and covered in short, glandular hairs.
Small Sundrops is easy to identify from the nodding tip of the stem and club-shaped fruit. While it can be found on drier sites, it is a decidedly eastern species requiring adequate annual moisture to persist. It is rarely encountered in great numbers, typically a scattered plant here or there within its habitat. While not as showy as the more garden popular Southern Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa), there is little reason it shouldn't persist well in a backyard native garden.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2016-06-30 14:21:56
Have been studying native plants on our lake shore/swamp/woodland acreage in Crow Wing County and have photographed nearly 100 different flowers. This week a Small Sundrop plant appeared. Two blooms have opened up and two more are ready. Have no idea how this plant found its way into this wildflower garden near the cabin. The soil is sandy and rocky and we have had a lot of moisture this spring. This is a wonderful new addition to our land.
on: 2017-06-11 18:57:29
These flowers were original to the farmstead, collected by a relative when the farmstead was broken up, and returned to me for my gardens when we built on the old farm site. You don't mention how they propagate, but mine spread from the roots, and have become quite numerous. Not a problem to keep under control by just breaking off the invasive stems at the root.
on: 2017-07-16 11:56:55
I have one plant in my prairie restoration near Welch
on: 2018-06-24 18:52:30
Found several plants blooming in duaghterâ€™s front flowerbed.
on: 2020-06-14 12:03:28
Came up in our backyard this year. Lots of bunches coming up in our perennial garden- beautiful!
on: 2020-07-22 15:48:52
Two plants growing on my beach this summer. I've been waiting for it to bloom to find if native or not. Glad I didn't pull it!