Oenothera caespitosa ssp. marginata   tufted or fragrant evening-primrose
native                      herbaceous           
Distribution: Foothills, West Valley

USDA Plants Link: Oenothera caespitosa ssp. marginata   (OECAM4)

Tufted evening-primrose (not a true primrose, which is the genus Primula) is among the most attractive and easily recognized of our native wildflowers.  Its large, white flowers open in the evening and usually close by mid-morning, generally fading to a delicate pink.  While open, the flowers attract dusk- and night-flying pollinators, in particular white-lined sphinx moths (Hyles lineata).  Although patches can still be regularly encountered along several trails in the Foothills, this lovely species is gradually declining in abundance due to the ongoing fragmentation and loss of its preferred sandy open habitats.

iThis is one of the plants that Isabel Mulford collected from the Boise foothills during her time in Idaho in 1892, hosted by Mary Hallock Foote.  She decided it represented a new species and described it as Oenothera idahoensis.  Subsequent researchers have decided that our plants are actually the same as O. caespitosa ssp. marginata, which was first collected in 1837 from near present-day Twin Falls, by a member of a fur-trading expedition.