Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Seabeach Evening-primrose - Oenothera humifusa   Nuttall
Members of Onagraceae:
Members of Oenothera with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Myrtales » Family Onagraceae
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DistributionThroughout the entire Outer Bnaks and barrier islands, from VA to SC. Does not occur on the mainland.

This is a coastal species from NJ south to FL and around the Gulf west to LA.
AbundanceCommon and usually easily found on barrier islands.
HabitatThis species is limited in NC to coastal sand dunes, including sand flats.
PhenologyBlooms from May to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a species quite adapted to its harsh habitat, as it is a somewhat woody-stemmed herb, sprawling and mostly decumbent along the sand. It has a very glaucous and hoary (pale or frosted) appearance, branched from the base, with alternate leaves. These leaves are very hairy, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, about 1.5 inches long and 1/3-inch wide, mostly entire but some leaves may have lobes. This species has relatively few flowers, generally one to several in upper axils of a branch, but with the typical Oenothera structure -- 4 bright yellow petals that are notched at the apex (to look like 8 lobes). The petals are ascending and about 1/2-inch long. This species should be identifiable even when no flowers or capsules are present, owing to its sprawling appearance with very hoary appearance and narrow alternate leaves. There are not many plants of dunes with colorful flowers (perhaps excepting a few morning-glories and yuccas), and thus the bright yellow flowers are quite welcome in such an otherwise barren habitat for color.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Spreading Evening-primrose, Dunes Evening-primrose
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieRoadside, Wanchese Road S of US 64. 21 Apr 2012. DareBIUPhoto_natural
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