A HYBRID EVENING-PRIMROSE

Oenothera × britannica

(Oenothera glazioviana × cambrica)

Willowherb Family [Onagraceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8fragrant
fragrant

19th Aug 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Erect stems growing up to ~1.8m high.


19th Aug 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
It is now the commonest Evening-primrose on the Sefton Coast - Common Evening-Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is no longer the commonest Evening-primrose in the UK. Leaves are mostly flat


19th Aug 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Near the end-of-season most of the flowers in the flower-spike have already flowered, leaving only the ones near the summit of the stalk flowering (or in bud), the rest below them have already flowered leaving just their stumps (the fruits) which are ripening. Small leaves at the top, much larger leaves lower down.


19th Aug 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers are yellow and only really fully open at night when they emit most of the fragrance, hence the common name Evening-primrose. The flower 'stalk' comprises 2 sections: a longer upper bearing the flower, and a shorter and slightly wider green part destined to become the fruit. On Oenthera x britannica the upper stalk is red.


19th Aug 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
All Evening-primrose flowers have 4 long sepals reflexed downwards. The colour varies from green to pink depending upon species; for Oenthera × britannica they are pink. On Evening-primroses there are 8 stamens with cross-bar anthers and just one style with X-shaped stigma atop.


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The comparative length of the stamens and style gives clues as to its identity; for Oenthera × britannica the stigma is slightly shorter than the stamens.


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Four long pink sepals reflexed backwards. Pink flower stalk and shorter slightly wider at the bottom green ovary destined to become the fruit when stalk plus flower fall off. The flowers are intermediate in size.


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Oenthera × britannica has pink buds which are green at the tip. These are actually the 4 sepals which will reflex downwards when the yellow flower will be revealed.


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits have red stripes and are wider at the bottom. The stems are also red


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits with short hairs.


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Top leaves are shorter. Note the paler veins when viewed by transmitted light.


19th Aug 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Bottom leaves are longer and mostly flat.


2nd Sept 2017, dunes, Crosby Coastal Park, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Bottom leaves. Stem still reddish.




A FASCIATED EVENING-PRIMROSE

[of unidentifiable provenance]

 Mutations Menu

29th June 2014, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are not crinkly enough for this Evening-Primrose to be Large-Flowered Evening-Primrose. It could be the hybrid between Large-Flowered Evening-Primrose and Common Evening-Primrose but again the leaves are not crinkly enough. All the information on this fasciated Evening-primrose has been supplied to your Author by the expert on Evening-primroses in the Sefton Coast area, Dr. Phil Smith, who says he has not seen anything like it but that it is an interesting and perplexing plant.


29th June 2014, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The top of the plant where there are normall flowers have been replaced by a proliferation of small 'leaves' - and two other sets of even narrower 'leaves' can be seen at the tip of two branches.


29th June 2014, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The 'leaves' atop the main stem.


29th June 2014, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fasciated 'leaves' in close-up.


29th June 2014, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The stems have hairs with red bulbous bases, which can indicate either Large-Flowered Evening-Primrose or Small-Flowered Evening-Primrose (or the hybrids of either of the latter with other Evening-primroses). The problem with the latter explanation is that Small-Flowered Evening-Primrose is rare on the Sefton Coast and confined to an area several miles South West of the location of this plant. The identification of Evening-primroses depends mostly upon the presence of the flowers, which are absent. The identity of this fasciated Evening-primrose remains undetermined.


Easily confused with : other Evening-primroses (Oenothera) species.

Not to be semantically confused with : Fragrant Agrimony (Agrimonia procera) or with any of the three Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia species) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Don't judge Evening-primroses by the size of the flower. Look instead at the relative sizes of the anthers and style:
anthers longer: Common Evening-Primrose, Intermediate Evening-Primrose and Small-Flowered Evening-Primrose
styles longer: Large-Flowered Evening-Primrose
styles and anthers about equal: Fragrant Evening-primrose
But don't forget that, especially on the Sefton Coast, the hybrids are much more abundant than their pure species (that is, if any are left at all according to some experts).

Hybridizes in a (unique to the UK) way with : Evening-Primrose (Small-Flowered) (Oenothera cambrica), Evening-Primrose (Common) (Oenothera biennis), Evening-Primrose (Large-Flowered) (Oenothera glazioviana) and with any of their hybrids or itself to produce a 'hybrid swarm', whenever two (or more) of those are in proximity. Many of these hybrids have neither common nor botanical name. See  Hybrid Swarms

The identifying features to look out for in this hybrid, Oenothera × britannica are:

  • Stems: Red
  • Flower buds: Pink with green tips
  • Flower size: Medium
  • Stigma versus Stamen length: Stamens longer
  • Leaves: Flat(ish)
  • Rarity: The commonest Evening-primrose on the Sefton Coast

On the Sefton Coast this hybrid is only common at Crosby Coastal Park and is virtually absent elsewhere.


  Oenothera glazioviana x cambrica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Onagraceae  

Distribution
 family8Willowherb family8Onagraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Oenothera
Oenothera
(Evening-Primroses)

A HYBRID EVENING-PRIMROSE

Oenothera × britannica

(Oenothera glazioviana × cambrica)

Willowherb Family [Onagraceae]