Oenothera coronopifolia is an upright perennial herb with comblike sinuate leaves. The flowers are terminal and axillary with sepals that are reflexed but not connected at the tips. When fresh, the flowers are white. Oenothera albicaulis is a similar species, but is an annual and usually has less deeply cut pinnatifid leaves.
Heil et al. 2013, Allred and Ivey 2012, Martin and Hutchins 1980
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, 10-60 cm tall, from a taproot and spreading, rhizome-like lateral roots; stems usually several, erect, usually branched, and covered with coarse, sometimes appressed hairs; epidermis not exfoliating. Leaves: Alternate along the stems, and also clustered in a basal rosette that withers before the plant flowers; blades 2-7 cm long and 5-15 mm wide, oblong-lanceolate in outline and deeply and regularly pinnatifid with narrow lobes. Flowers: White, showy, and nodding; solitary in the leaf axils; hypanthium (the floral tube, located beneath the sepals and petals) cylindrical, 1-3 cm long, hairy on the outside, and with long conspicuous hairs at the throat; sepals 4 per flower, 1-2 cm long; petals 4 per flower, 1-2 cm long, white and fading pink. Fruits: Capsules cylindrical and straight, 1-2 cm long and 3-5 mm wide; splitting open along 4 longitudinal suture lines to release numerous ellipsoid seeds, 2 mm long. Ecology: Found in dry open sites, especially on slopes; from 5,000-9,000 ft (1524-2743 m); flowers June-September. Distribution: ND and WY south to AZ, NM, and KS. Notes: A perennial evening primrose with white flowers that fade to pink; leaves that are pinnately divided into narrow, even lobes like the teeth of a comb; it grows from a woody taproot which often has lateral, spreading roots attached to it if you dig far enough. Look also at the throat of the floral tube for the conspicuous long white hairs. Similar to Oenothera albicaulis, except that species is annual and the throat of the floral tube is glabrous (hairless). Oe. pallida is also similar but also lacks the long hairs on the throat of the floral tube; and also the leaves are not so delicately pinnatifid, with lobes and rachis usually more than 3 mm wide (Oe. coronopifolia has leaf lobes and rachis 2 mm wide or narrower). Ethnobotany: Used by the Navajo to improve the taste of tobacco; a poultice of the plant or root was used for swellings; a cold infusion of the leaves was used to treat stomachaches. Etymology: Oenothera comes from the Greek oinos, wine, and therao, to seek or imbibe, alluding to the fact that the root of Oenothera biennis was used to flavor wine; coronopifolia is from the Latin corona, crown, opi, vision or looking like, and folia, leaf, in reference to the pinnatifid leaves looking like the top of a crown. Synonyms: Anogra coronopifolia Editor: AHazelton 2017