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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Root - cooked. Boiled and eaten like salsify[1][2][3][4][5]. Fleshy, sweet and succulent[6]. Wholesome and nutritious[7]. A peppery taste[8]. The taste somewhat resembles salsify or parsnips[9].

Young shoots - raw or cooked[7][2][10][11][9]. Mucilaginous, with a peppery flavour, they are best used sparingly[8]. Another source suggests that the shoots should not be eaten[12]. Flowers - sweet. Used in salads or as a garnish[9]. Young seedpods - cooked. Steamed[9].

The seed contains 28% of a drying oil[13]. It is edible and a very good source of gamma-linolenic acid[14], an essential fatty acid that is not found in many plant sources and has numerous vital functions in the body. The seed, however, is very small and difficult to harvest, it has to be done by hand[15]. Overall yields are low, making the oil very expensive to produce.

Flowers

Leaves

Unknown part

Oil

Seedpod

Material uses

The oil from the seed is added to skin preparations and cosmetics. It is often combined with vitamin E to prevent oxidation[16].

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers[17].

A finely ground powder made from the flowering stems is used cosmetically in face-masks to counteract reddened skins[17].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark and the leaves are astringent and sedative[1][18]. They have proved of use in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders of a functional origin, whooping cough and asthma[1]. A syrup made from the flowers is also an effective treatment for whooping cough[17]. The bark is stripped from the flowering stem and dried for later use, the leaves are also harvested and dried at this time[1].

Evening primrose oil has become a well-known food supplement since the 1980's. Research suggests that the oil is potentially very valuable in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, pre-menstrual tension, hyperactivity etc[5]. It is also taken internally in the treatment of eczema, acne, brittle nails, rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol-related liver damage[16]. Regular consumption of the oil helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the blood pressure[18][5]. The seed is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances[19][16]. This process is commonly blocked in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine muscles, nervous system and metabolism[16]. The poulticed root is applied to piles and bruises[19].

A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of obesity and bowel pains[19].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ from late spring to early summer[20].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Oenothera biennis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a dryish well-drained sandy loam and a warm sunny position[21][1][20], though it is tolerant of most soils[1]. Heavy clay soils may induce winter rots[20]. Grows well on very poor soils[15][16]. Established plants are drought resistant[15].

Formerly cultivated for its edible roots, the evening primrose is being increasingly cultivated for the oil contained in its seed which contains certain essential fatty acids and is a very valuable addition to the diet[5]. See the notes on medicinal uses for more details. The flowers open in the evening and are strongly scented with a delicious sweet perfume[22], attracting pollinating moths[1]. The seeds are a good food source for birds[20].

Plants usually self-sow freely if they are growing in a suitable position, they can naturalize in the wild garden[4, K].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Oenothera biennis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Oenothera biennis.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Oenothera biennis
Genus
Oenothera
Family
Onagraceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
4
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
?
Herbaceous or Woody
?
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
?
Mature Size
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.8 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.2 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
  3. ? 3.03.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
  4. ? 4.04.1 Organ. J. Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table. Faber (1960-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.5 Freethy. R. From Agar to Zenery. The Crowood Press ISBN 0-946284-51-2 (1985-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.17.2 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.18.2 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
  14. ? 14.014.1 Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK. Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading ISBN 0704909820 (1986-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.215.3 Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
  16. ? 16.016.116.216.316.416.516.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.117.217.317.4 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.118.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  19. ? 19.019.119.219.3 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.120.220.320.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  21. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  22. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  23. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
  24. ? - Radio 4 Farming Programme, 25/08/95. - (1995-00-00)

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