Evening Primrose

11 Nov

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Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) still remains a common plant here in eastern Canada and I suspect the folks who lived here thousands of years ago were very fond of this health plant.

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This is usually the time of year I gather this plant though I do enjoy the yellow flowers in salads during the summer. The whole plant is edible and my favorite part for eating are the boiled roots which become very soft textured with a pleasant flavour and a peppery aftertaste.

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Evening Primrose oil which is a well known herbal product is made from Evening Primrose seeds either grown commercially or gathered from the wild, so here we are looking at a stem with the 4 chambered seedpods.

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Here I’ve opened a couple of chambers to show you the brown seeds which can be used as a peppery condiment.

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These still green basal leaves are what you’re looking for if you’re interested  in the large roots which can be harvested from these first year plants as long as the ground isn’t frozen and the 2nd year stems haven’t begun to grow. All the above photos were taken around my shed, this plant grows in a variety of areas including roadsides, railway banks, gravelly soils along brooks, drier areas near salt marshes and disturbed soils.

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I usually freeze the leaves for winter use but this year I’ll dry some to use as a pepper replacement. This plant was taken to Europe in the 1700s and was given the name the King’s cure-all, so it must of proven to be a beneficial plant in its new homelands.

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Above are a couple photos of Evening Primrose in flower taken this summer. ciao

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4 Responses to “Evening Primrose”

  1. pat October 30, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    do you have wildcraftedprimrose for sale

    • 1left October 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      No I don’t sell any, I suspect wild and organic seeds are probably easy to find on the internet. The roots, leaves and seed pods are likely just the opposite, quite difficult to find fresh, frozen or dried. Interesting such a health food isn’t more readily available.

  2. Carolyn Widhalm April 2, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

    I grow evening primrose in my year, but the leaves look different. There are others that DO look like those in your picture that I was getting ready to dig up and throw away because they don’t flower very well (They were here when we moved to this house, the ones I grow for flowers I brought with me and they self-seed every year)
    It’s interesting to know that every part of the plant is edible! I might have to try some.

    • 1left April 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      In the Maritimes cross fertilization has occurred with Oenothera and a wide range of different looking Evening Primrose plants are growing in the wild. A few have been named such as O grandiflora, O cruciate, O novae-scotiae and also O parviflora the (Small Flowered Evening Primrose) is also very common.
      There are a few medications and certain illnesses which Evening Primrose oil and thus seeds are best not to consume, so check this out before sampling this plant. If it is safe for you, the flowers are mild tasting and pleasant in salads, the rest of the plant is quite bitter, but seems to grow on you, for me I’m looking forward to pickling some of the immature seedpods this year. ciao

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