If you’ve been hiking during the cooler sunset hours lately, you might have noticed large 2-3” white & light pink petals along the side of the trail. These beautiful evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) plants use the late afternoon and evening to open up their large fragrant flowers to attract night-time pollinators such as moths. You can often find dune primrose (Oenothera deltoids), California evening primrose (Oenothera californica), and tufted evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) plants along many Red Rock Canyon trails, especially in sandy soils. The Greek word “Oeno” refers to wine; it is unclear to ethno-botanists if primrose roots were eaten to increase a person’s appetite for wine, used to flavor wine, or dipped in wine and given to animals to calm them.
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