Thursday, May 5, 2016

What's Up, Buttercup?

Have you ever gotten “butter” on your nose from a buttercup? Or as they are botanically named, Oenothera speciosa Nutt. Buttercups are also known as Pink evening primrose, Showy evening primrose, Mexican evening primrose, Showy primrose, Pink ladies, Pink buttercups, according to the Native Plant Information Network.

From Wikipedia, we learned that although this plant is also frequently referred to as a buttercup, it is not a true buttercup (genus Ranunculus) or even in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.

Pink Evening Primrose at Hagerman NWR, by Kathy Whaley

The website for Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center goes on to say that while most primroses open in the evening, this plant, native over a widespread area from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, opens in the evening in the northern range but in the morning in the southern range. They could also be called “day flower” as each flower lasts only one day.

“Buttercups” are perennial; their blooms vary from palest pink, nearly white, to deep rich pinks. The flowers’ yellow pollen is the source of the “butter”. They will grow is a variety of soils but go dormant if the soil is too dry; in our area, you will note large masses of them where there are apparent low places in the fields and along roadsides.  You will see large masses of them along Refuge Road  between FM 1417 and Highway 289 while traveling to Hagerman NWR.

Birds like the seeds from pink evening primroses and the flowers offer nectar to bees and butterflies.

So "butter up"! And - as this is National Wildflower Week, watch the Friends of Hagerman Facebook Page for more wildflower photos this week.

NOTE": This Blog was originally published April 30, 2015.

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