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Small-flowered Evening Primrose

Oenothera cambrica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Onagraceae (Willowherb)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Grassland, meadows, riverbanks, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Bright yellow flowers, 14 to 18mm in diameter. Unlike the similar looking Large-flowered Evening Primrose (Oenothera glazioviana) the tips of the flower spikes are green and the sepals are green. The styles of the flower are shorter than those of Large-flowered Evening Primrose.
Dry fruit capsule, splitting open when ripe.
Basal elliptical leaves which are broadest above the middle. The stem leaves are lance-shaped. The hairs on Small-flowered Evening Primrose are red at their bases. The similar Common Evening Primrose does not have red-based hairs. Annual or biennial.
Other Names:
Gorse Primrose, Welsh Evening Primrose.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Oenothera cambrica, also known as the Welsh evening primrose or gorse primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the evening primrose family. It is native to Europe and is found in a variety of habitat types, including grasslands, meadows, and coastal areas. Oenothera cambrica is a perennial herb that grows to a height of about 60 cm (2 feet). It has narrow, lance-shaped leaves and small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. The flowers are a popular nectar source for bees and other insects. Oenothera cambrica is often used in gardens as an ornamental plant, either as a standalone herb or in containers. It is generally easy to grow and does well in well-draining soil. It can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including drought and salt spray, making it a good choice for coastal gardens.


Small-flowered Evening Primrose, Oenothera cambrica, is a beautiful and unique wildflower native to the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. Despite its small size, this plant is incredibly hardy and resilient, and it has a long blooming period that lasts from May to September.

One of the most notable features of Small-flowered Evening Primrose is its delicate and fragrant yellow flowers, which are typically only about 1 cm in diameter. However, despite their small size, the flowers are incredibly vibrant and eye-catching, and they are sure to attract the attention of anyone who comes across them in the wild.

In addition to its beautiful flowers, Small-flowered Evening Primrose is also known for its ability to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. This makes it an excellent choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance wildflower that is easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of environments.

If you are interested in growing Small-flowered Evening Primrose in your own garden, it is important to choose a location that provides good sunlight and well-draining soil. You should also take care not to overwater the plant, as this can lead to root rot and other problems.

Another great way to enjoy Small-flowered Evening Primrose is to incorporate it into your landscaping or wildflower meadow. This will allow you to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the flowers all season long, and it can help to support local wildlife, such as bees and butterflies, by providing them with a source of nectar and pollen.

Overall, Small-flowered Evening Primrose is a wonderful wildflower that is sure to delight gardeners and nature lovers alike. Whether you choose to grow it in your own garden or simply appreciate it in the wild, this plant is sure to make a lasting impression.

Aside from its ornamental value, Small-flowered Evening Primrose also has a rich history of medicinal uses. The plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, such as skin conditions, headaches, and menstrual pain.

One of the active compounds found in Small-flowered Evening Primrose is GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes the plant a popular natural remedy for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.

In addition to its medicinal benefits, Small-flowered Evening Primrose is also a great food source for a variety of wildlife, including insects and small mammals. The leaves, stems, and seeds of the plant are all edible, and they provide essential nutrients and energy to the animals that consume them.

It is important to note that while Small-flowered Evening Primrose is generally considered safe, it should not be consumed in large quantities, as it can cause side effects such as digestive discomfort and headaches. As with any natural remedy, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using Small-flowered Evening Primrose for medicinal purposes.

Small-flowered Evening Primrose is a versatile and beautiful plant that has much to offer. Its delicate flowers, ease of care, and history of medicinal use make it a must-have for any gardener or nature lover.

In terms of cultivation, Small-flowered Evening Primrose is a relatively low-maintenance plant that does not require a lot of attention. Once established, it can grow well in a range of soil types, from heavy clays to sandy soils, as long as the soil is well-draining.

The plant can be propagated easily from seed, and it can also be divided in early spring. If you are looking to add some Small-flowered Evening Primrose to your garden, it is best to sow the seeds in the fall or early spring, when the ground is still cool. This will give the seeds a chance to germinate and establish roots before the hot weather arrives.

One thing to keep in mind is that Small-flowered Evening Primrose is a self-seeding plant, which means that it will spread readily in your garden if you allow it to. This can be a good thing if you want to create a wildflower meadow or naturalistic planting, but it can also be a challenge if you prefer a more controlled and tidy garden.

To keep Small-flowered Evening Primrose under control, it is best to deadhead the flowers regularly. This will prevent the plant from producing too many seeds and spreading too widely. You should also remove any yellowed leaves or stems from the plant to keep it looking its best.

Small-flowered Evening Primrose is also drought-tolerant, which means that it can withstand periods of dry weather without suffering. This makes it an excellent choice for gardeners who live in areas with limited rainfall, or for those who are looking for a low-maintenance plant that does not require a lot of watering.

In terms of pests and diseases, Small-flowered Evening Primrose is relatively resistant to most problems. However, it can be susceptible to powdery mildew and rust in certain conditions, so it is important to keep an eye out for these issues and treat them promptly if necessary.

Overall, Small-flowered Evening Primrose is an easy-to-grow wildflower that will bring beauty and fragrance to your garden for months on end. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner, this plant is sure to become a valued member of your garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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