Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is also known as Fever plant, great evening-primrose, kings-cure-all, night willow-herb, scabish, scurvish, tee primrose, sun drop, suncups. Evening Primrose is a biennial wildflower that blooms at sunset. The flowers will often remain open the next day during cloudy conditions, but fade quickly under bright sunlight.
In cooler regions primroses are valuable garden perennials which seed themselves freely in the shade garden. In hot summer regions they are grown as winter and spring flowering annuals. They prefer growing on shady banks and under hedgerows, doing exceptionally well when planted underneath deciduous trees, where they receive winter sunshine but are sheltered from the heat of summer. These are great plants for the early pollinators and will attract butterflies and moths to the garden.
Evening Primrose Culinary Uses
The entire plant is edible. The early leaves are cooked and eaten as greens, and the roots are said to be sweet, peppery, and delicious when boiled like potatoes. Evening Primrose flowers are a sweet addition to salads or as a garnish. The young seedpods can be served steamed. The seeds can be used as a substitute for poppy seeds on baked goods.
Evening Primrose Medicinal Benefits
The bark and the leaves are astringent and sedative. They are of use in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders of a functional origin, whooping cough and asthma. A syrup made from the flowers is also an effective treatment for whooping cough. 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 and hyperactivity. It is also taken internally in the treatment of eczema, acne, brittle nails, rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol-related liver damage. Regular consumption of the oil helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the blood pressure. The seed is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances.The poulticed root is applied to piles and bruises. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of obesity and bowel pains.
Evening Primrose is not safe for use by pregnant women and it may also not be safe for people who are prone to seizures and schizophrenia.
How to grow Evening Primrose
The seeds are very tiny, so do not cover them! The tray must then be chilled in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks, after which it must be kept between 15 to 20°C during germination, which takes anything from 1 to 3 weeks. During germination maintain moderate moisture levels, never allowing the soil to dry out or to become saturated. A sheet of clear plastic or glass placed over the tray will help to retain moisture until the seeds sprout, at which time the cover sheet should be removed.
Following germination, reduce moisture levels somewhat, allowing the growing medium to dry out slightly before watering, this helps promote rooting. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 5cm tall, and place in a cool, shady place. They will be ready to bloom the following spring.
Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.