Oenothera macrocarpa

Oenothera macrocarpa (syn. Oenothera missouriensis), the bigfruit evening primrose,[1] Ozark sundrop or Missouri evening primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the evening primrose family Onagraceae, native to Mexico and the south-central United States, where it is found in calcareous prairies and limestone outcrops.[2]

Oenothera macrocarpa
Oenothera macrocarpa Tennessee.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Oenothera
O. macrocarpa
Binomial name
Oenothera macrocarpa


This herbaceous perennial produces a red stem 6-12 in. (15-30 cm) in height. The large (3 inch) wide flowers are cup shaped, canary yellow and have a mild fragrance. They are produced in great numbers from early to mid summer. Leaves are dark green and lanceolate, and bunched along the trailing stem. The seed pods are 4-winged and 2 to 3 inch long.


The seed pods are often used in flower arrangements. This plant is also grown in gardens for its flowers.[3][4] It is suitable as a groundcover in poor, stony soil which does not become waterlogged in winter, in full sun. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[5][6]


There are five commonly accepted varieties. These are:

  • O. macrocarpa var. fremontii - restricted to Kansas and southern Nebraska[7]
  • O. macrocarpa var. incana - southern Kansas, western Oklahoma and northern Texas
  • O. macrocarpa var. macrocarpa - the most widespread; Texas to the Ozark Mountains, with disjunct populations in Tennessee's Nashville Basin[8]
  • O. macrocarpa var. mexicana - known only from Coahuila, Mexico[9]
  • O. macrocarpa var. oklahomensis - southern Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas


  1. ^ "Oenothera macrocarpa". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  2. ^ Shinners and Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas Online
  3. ^ Missouri Botanical Garden
  4. ^ "Perennial Resource: Oenothera missouriensis". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  5. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Oenothera macrocarpa". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 69. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Oenothera macrocarpa". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  8. ^ Chester, Edward (2015). Guide to the Vascular Plants of Tennessee.
  9. ^ Wagner, Warren; Hoch, Peter; Raven, Peter (2007). "Revised Classification of the Onagraceae". Systematic Botany Monographs. 83. JSTOR i25027967.