Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pink evening primrose colony

with 22 comments

On the afternoon of March 27th we were beginning our long trek home from Floresville on US 181 when I noticed a colony of pink evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa) in the fringe between the highway and the parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy. There was no help for it but to turn around at the first opportunity and go back to take pictures of the wildflowers. Beyond the pink evening primroses you can see a few phlox flowers and Indian paintbrushes.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 31, 2019 at 4:39 AM

22 Responses

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  1. I used to have many pink evening primrose around, but the last years they’ve dwindled away. I guess I will have to be happy looking at your beautiful photograph to enjoy any this year. Mine seem to have vanished.


    March 31, 2019 at 6:40 AM

    • Oh, that’s too bad. Do you have any idea what caused them to dwindle? Pink evening primroses are always among the most common wildflowers in Austin, and they can form huge colonies, as you may remember from last year:


      At the opposite end of the scale, it’s not unusual here to find an individual pink evening primrose flowering in the summer and even in the fall.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 31, 2019 at 7:29 AM

    • As a child here in Birmingham, Alabama we called them Buttercups. When in bloom we would pick one, run up to someone & say “smell my flower”. Then touch the flower to their nose leaving “butter” on their nose! Great childish fun with lots of giggles!


      April 13, 2022 at 6:52 PM

      • I didn’t grow up in Texas but I’ve heard from people who did: they also called these flowers buttercups and played the same nose game you described.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 13, 2022 at 7:00 PM

  2. Absolutely, that sight required turning around fo a better look. This plant is very pretty in pink, compared to our yellow variety.


    March 31, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    • We have several yellow-flowering species of evening primroses here too. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website says the pink species was “originally native only to central grasslands from Missouri and Nebraska south through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to northeastern Mexico.” That was already a pretty broad range, but at


      you can see how much it has expanded. Pink evening primroses have even been reported up by you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 31, 2019 at 9:37 AM

      • Holy cow, so they have! I hope I see them here. Looks like they extend to North Carolina, too. Since I maybe can’t have the west coast, I’m looking into the east coast and am finding some encouraging house prices there. Shhhh……


        April 1, 2019 at 9:19 AM

        • I’ve heard that in the country as a whole it’s becoming a buyer’s market now, so good luck.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 1, 2019 at 9:32 AM

          • Really? Woohoo!


            April 1, 2019 at 11:01 AM

              • Just to amuse myself, I keep several homes saved in a realtor.com account all over the country. I’ve noticed lately that they are staying unsold for a very long time now and I’m getting occasional notices that a price has dropped. That, of course, would make it harder to sell the house we have although we’re told we are in a desirable neighborhood.


                April 2, 2019 at 9:52 AM

  3. Indeed, there was nothing else you could have done in this case.


    March 31, 2019 at 8:39 AM

    • I’m glad you agree. That said, we saw so many good stands of wildflowers as we drove around that day that I couldn’t stop for them all. I hadn’t till then seen a good bunch of pink evening primroses, and that provided the motivation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 31, 2019 at 9:40 AM

  4. It’s been intriguing to watch the growth of the colonies down here. When I drove TX 35 last week, the pink primrose were around, but not widespread. Yesterday, they stretched along the road almost continually: mostly pink, but with some white colonies interspersed. You found an especially nice patch, without the grassy interruptions in the swath of flowers that sometimes occurs.


    March 31, 2019 at 9:12 AM

  5. What a fantastic spring you Texans are having. We’ve only got Green With Envy, so far. Looking forward to April. 😃

    Robert Parker

    March 31, 2019 at 1:04 PM

    • For the past two weeks it’s been fantastic in various locales a couple of hours southwest of Austin. I’m hoping that as the spring keeps moving north we’ll get hit with the same lushness in and around Austin. Sorry the only color for you in Milwaukee so far is green with envy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 31, 2019 at 4:03 PM

  6. Now, that is more like it. These look like our natives, except on flat ground.


    April 2, 2019 at 12:51 AM

  7. Only the yellow variety around here as far as I know. I never tried but wonder if they can be used to check for butter fondness like a buttercup. Wouldn’t mind them colonizing around here.

    Steve Gingold

    April 3, 2019 at 4:10 AM

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