The American Flambeau Ojibwas tribes used the plant to treat bruises, skin complaints, and asthma. Modern research is discovering other important medicinal properties.
History: Seeds of evening primrose were brought from America to Padua Botanic Garden in Italy in 1619. Theophrastus, the ancient Greek physician, is thought to have given it the name Oinos, 'wine' and thera, 'hunt'. Possibly it was used as a hangover cure.
Characteristics: An erect biennial reaching 3 to 5 feet. The first year there will be a rosette of leaves and in the second year it will shoot up and flower. The mid-green leaves are lance-shaped, slightly toothed, and sticky, and grow in rosettes. The flowers are bowl-shaped and fragrant, about 2 inches across, ageing from pale yellow to gold. They open in the evening to attract moths and keep coming from midsummer to autumn.
Growing Tips: Barely cover the seeds to germinate in 7-28 days. Start in early spring or in fall to bloom the following year. Transplant 8-12"/20-30cm apart in full sun or partial shade. The plants get 36-48"/.9-1.22m tall. The plant likes temperate areas and is hardy down to -10F/-23C (Zones 6-8). Later sowing increases the likelihood that the plant will be biennial and produce flowers only in the second year. If a biennial, it will make a rosette (or lotus throne) the first
year and produce flowering stalks the second. It can be interplant with medicinal herbs, soybeans, or peanuts.
References: James A. Duke, Ph.D.
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