Some of the best plants arrive in our garden by wayward seed carried in by birds and self-seed themselves year after year. This beautiful Evening Primrose is one such example. The huge yellow blooms are supported on a large plant that has developed rather like an upside down chandelier.
According to Garden Organic, the plant originated in North America but spread here from the European mainland in the 19thcentury and there are now 15 species recorded in Britain.
Lucky us because this winter annual, properly known as Oenothera, thrives on sandy soil and the seeds are popular with birds and insects. There’s plenty of them to go round with each plant producing an average of 140 capsules containing up to 180 seeds. After that sterling performance they die but seeds can last 50 years or more in the soil.
The RHS says the common Evening Primrose Oenothera biennishas lots of other names including night ‘willowherb’, ‘scurvish’, ‘coffee plant’ (don’t try it for your morning brew), and ‘cure-all.’
The latter name isn’t surprising as, taken as a supplement or applied topically, the Evening Primrose has traditionally been used for as host of ailments including bruises, haemorrhoids, sore throats, acne, and even high blood pressure, as well as the much-publicised easing of PMS and hot flushes.
As with all natural remedies, best not to try it out before consulting your GP as it’s not risk free.
But this handsome plant that found its own way into my garden is a welcome guest in this autumn season.