Tuesday, February 12, 2013
February 13th, 2013
The letter this week is the Elegant E
Here are a few words about the Evening Primrose
This is one of the common names of this type genus of the family Onagraceae, – others are the Suncup, or the Sundrop – lovely flowers, close to the ground, shining like small suns wherever they are planted . My DIL has beautiful clumps of Suncups in her garden………
The species vary in size from these small alpine plants, originally from Chile, to vigorous lowland plants which can grow as tall as three m and are from Mexico.
The flowers of many species open within less than a minute in the evening – hence their name ‘evening primrose’ (although they are not relatives of the true primrose). One of the most distinctive features of the flower is the stigma with four branches forming an X shape.
Pollination is by the Hummingbird Moth, or the Sphinx Moth, or by bees. Although Wikipedia states that the bees must be morphologically specialized to gather this pollen and effectively pollinate the flowers, I haven’t researched this yet, so perhaps we can do it together and find out what a morphologically specialized bee really is…
In the wild, evening primrose quickly appears wherever a patch of bare ground may be found, and I can attest to this as I have always had at least a few plants in my gardens and I have never planted the flower. They just appear, and along with them, just about dusk, the excitement of trying to catch a photo of those lovely Moths about their business of pollination. Someone online has been more successful than I ever was, and has caught a Humming Bird Moth in the act.
I have never tried this, but young roots can be eaten like a vegetable, or the shoots can be eaten as a salad. As well, the Evening Primrose is widely known for its healing powers and poultices containing the plant were at one time used to ease bruises and speed wound healing. Evening Primrose Oil can be found in any health food store and the gamma-linolenic acid which is extracted from the seeds of the plant is used to relieve a number of maternity conditions.
I love this plant, partly for its association with Charles’ father, who introduced me to it; partly because it attracts those beautiful darting, swooping, fluttering moths, and partly because it is so beautiful and just faintly exotic.
Another plant which begins with E and which holds great appeal for me, is Euphorbia, – especially the beautiful Spurge which blooms early in the garden – a wonderful golden globe.
For more E’s here is the place to go – ABC Wednesday with many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt, who created this meme and all her Eager helpers.