Botanical Harvest: Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa + Oenothera biennis)

Fragrant evening primrose flowers open in the late afternoon, blooming even while you stand there and watch.

Fragrant evening primrose flowers open in the late afternoon, blooming even while you stand there and watch.

We have been blessed with a wet summer and the evening primrose is blooming like crazy. This genus holds fragrant evening primrose and common evening primrose, both beautiful and useful perennials of the Southwest. Thought to have originated in Mexico and Central America, the roots and leaves of evening primrose have a long history of dermatological use.  We harvest the fragrant evening primrose to make our desert perfumes (the pink and white flower) and use commercial organic evening primrose seed oil harvested from common evening primrose (the yellow flower.)  

The delicate white and pale pink flowers open in the evening, blooming even while you stand there and watch.  They are pollinated by sphinx moths known for their large size, excessively long proboscis and ability to hover like hummingbirds.  

Fragrant evening primrose has a light sweet perfume with soft honeysuckle and clover blossom undertones.

Fragrant evening primrose has a light sweet perfume with soft honeysuckle and clover blossom undertones.

Fragrant evening primrose is a common sight throughout the Southwest and can be found colonizing many disturbed sites, providing a favorite snack for javelinas and other desert grazers. These luscious flowers fragrance the desert night with a quiet perfume of clover blossom and honeysuckle . 

Common evening primrose blooming by Rio Ojo Caliente.  

Common evening primrose blooming by Rio Ojo Caliente.  

While many of the evening primroses have seeds containing high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids, Oenothera biennis is the species commonly used to produce oil and also has mildly sweet blooms and delicious roots. Oenothera caespitosa, on the other hand, is by far the most fragrant species.  Evening primrose oil is known for its ability to restore elasticity and balance to dry skin, among other benefits. 

Our Primrose Lip Tint is scented with an extraction of wildcrafted fragrant evening primrose flowers blended with other botanicals into a delicious desert perfume.  This lovely blush pink tint moisturizes your lips with a rich blend of organic evening primrose, olive, jojoba, coconut and avocado oils while providing just the right hint of color.  No synthetics ever.