Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Nodding Evening-primrose - Oenothera nutans   Atkinson & Bartlett
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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AuthorAtkinson & Bartlett
DistributionApparenrly throughout the Mountains, possibly into the upper Piedmont. As this species is so very similar to O. biennis and O. parviflora, most biologists are not aware of this species, and most records probably are based on specimens collected decades ago and re-examined in recent years. Even the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora website has lumped all records of these onto one map for O. biennis. The BONAP map shows scattered records in the NC Piedmont and Coastal Plain, though SERNEC specimens are only from Wake and Orange counties, and these not from NCU (a trusted herbarium). For the time being, the website editors are not mapping such counties for fear of the records being incorrect.

This is a poorly mapped species, but is generally an Eastern one. It apparently ranges from ME and MI south to FL and AL, but mostly south to about PA and then in the Appalachians to western NC.
AbundanceProbably fairly common (at least) in the Mountains; possibly more numerous. Abundance there is, however, speculative and based on the fairly large number of specimens and the spread of the counties (15+) across the breadth of the province. The editors have assigned a State Rank of S3? for now, with no Watch List proposed.
Habitat"Roadsides, openings, forest edges, pastures" (Weakley 2018). As these are common, ordinary habitats, they also suggest that the species is not restricted to rare or uncommon habitats and thus the species ought to be reasonably numerous.
PhenologyBlooms from June to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationSee the description for O. biennis. This tall species differs from it by the "Inflorescence being glabrous (or appearing so without magnification)", as opposed to "Inflorescence conspicuously pubescent" in O. biennis, according to Weakley (2018). It differs from O. parviflora mostly by flower size, as the latter has small flowers -- petals about 1/2-inch long versus petals about 4/5-inch long and wide in O. nutans (about the size of O. biennis). Weakley (2018) gives several additional characters to separate these two. This species complex may well be too difficult for most biologists to deal with, other than by collecting specimens first and keying them out later.
Taxonomic CommentsIt is rather surprising that NatureServe considers the species as valid without even the Q for Questionable taxonomy. However, many other references do not treat this as valid. A few treat or treated it as O. austromontana.

Other Common Name(s)Mountain Evening-primrose
State Rank[S3?] *
Global RankG4
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