Common eveningprimrose

Oenothera biennis L.

Life cycle

Usually an erect biennial or winter annual. Occasionally a summer annual.

common eveningprimrose plant
Common eveningprimrose plant.


Alternate, narrow oval-shaped, smooth to slightly wavy leaf margins, with distinctive pink to white mid-veins. Leaves initially develop from a basal rosette.

common eveningprimrose rosette
Common eveningprimrose rosette.


Erect, semi-woody, approaching 5 feet in height. Stem usually branches only at the top and may be visible through the winter.

common eveningprimrose flowering stem
Common eveningprimrose flowering stem.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers are yellow, attached to fused sepals forming a tube and found in terminal spikes. Seed capsules are woody, cylinder-shaped and thickest near the bottom.



Similar weeds

Cutleaf eveningprimrose (O. laciniata Hill) Differs by having a prostrate to moderately erect, branching stem; wavy and coarsely toothed leaves; yellow to reddish flowers in the upper and middle leaf axils; and linear, cylinder-shaped seed capsules.

cutleaf eveningprimrose
Cutleaf eveningprimrose leaf is coarsely toothed.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.