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Wildlife and Other Sightings: Evening Primrose

August 04, 2012 Posted by: AS - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Hooker's Evening-primrose
Oenothera elata
Hooker's Evening Primrose

Late July
Hetch Hetchy

Large yellow petals 3-4.5 cm long and a stigma with four branches in an X are used to identify this showy flower. The blooms are on an un-branched stem 1.5 to 2.5 m high. Typically found at elevations below 6000 feet, this one was seen at Hetch Hetchy. Hooker's Evening-primrose got its common name from its earlier scientific name, Oenothera hookeri, after Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911).  Hooker was the Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England. He came to Yosemite in 1877 and collected over 1,000 plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Western United States. He was a great friend of Charles Darwin and was in support of the latter's controversial Theory of Evolution.


2 Comments Comments Icon

  1. David - Los Angeles, CA
    November 09, 2012 at 02:35

    Named in 1840 after Joseph's father, William Jackson Hooker, who tentatively identified it as Oenothera odorata Jacq. in 'the Botany of Captain Beechey's Voyage' published in 1841.

  2. George - Oakland, CA
    August 12, 2012 at 02:33

    I noticed some like these blooming in the valley (Stoneman Meadow) a few days ago. Didn't know the species till I saw this, but recognized it as an Evening primrose from having seen its relatives on the East Coast. My favorite shade of yellow!


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