Lavender-Leaf Sundrop

Bright yellow flowers with red flowers in the background
Lavenderleaf Sundrops

NPS Photo/Tiffany Zadi


Lavender-Leaf Sundrop

Calylophus lavandulifolius

Common Names: Lavender-Leaf Primrose, Lavenderleaf Sundrop
Family: Onagraceae
Flowering Season (Bryce Region): Late April - September
Size: Up to 8 inches in height
Range: Nevada, east across the Four Corners states to west Texas and the southern Great Plains

General Description

A low growing plant in the evening primrose family, with small, inconspicuous stems and leaves, though it is easily spotted when in bloom because of the large yellow flowers, up to 2 inches wide, at the tip of slender tubes of up to 5 inches. The leaves wither to orange then purple and buds are greenish, striped with red. Leaves and stems also have a covering of short, greyish hairs. Unlike many other evening primrose species, Lavender-Leaf Sundrops bloom during the day, and often forms colonies of dozens of plants.


Mixed desert shrub up into pinyon juniper woodland and ponderosa pine forest communities. Grows as far north as South Dakota and up to an elevation of 8,500 feet (2,600 m) in the southewest. Prefers rocky, sandy soil.

Plant Lore

Oenothera (an alternative spelling to Onagra) means "wine-scenting" or "wine-seeker" referring to the practice of scenting wines, which is what the roots of this plant were used for, historically. The young shoots, fruit and seeds have experimentally been used throughout history for ailments ranging from eczema to migraines.

Further Reading

iNaturalist - Lavender-Leaf Sundrops

Last updated: April 30, 2023

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