Oenothera biennis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Evening-primrose


Common Evening-primrose, or 'Evening Star', was introduced into the UK in the 1600s and has since become naturalised on dry waste ground, roadside verges, sand dunes and railway cuttings. Its common names allude to its large, yellow, sun-like flowers that actually only open in the evening. These blooms appear on tall spikes from June to September and attract bees, butterflies and moths searching for nectar. For this reason, Common Evening-primrose is a good choice for wildlife gardens.

How to identify

Common Evening-primrose has large yellow flowers comprising four petals that appear in loose formation on tall stems. Its narrow, lance-shaped leaves have red veins.

Where to find it

Scattered distribution when it has become naturalised, mainly across central and south-east England.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

To encourage wildlife into your garden, try planting native flower species in your borders to provide a 'nectar-cafe' for bees and butterflies. But if you do prefer some non-native varieties, be careful when you throw away cuttings - species can easily escape into surrounding habitats and can cause problems for local wildlife. To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Oenothera biennis
Height: up to 1.5m
Conservation status
Introduced species.