Oenothera biennis Onagraceae
Botanical description: Biennial/perennial up to 150 cm. Starts as a rosette of leaves and then throws uo a flower stalk with yellow 5 petalled flowers held in pairs. The leaves have hairs on their edges and little or no petiole. The flowers release an aroma at night as they arepollinated by moths.
Location Naturalised in Europe since the seventeenth century, probably in the UK and Ireland since 19th century. Probably native to North America
Part used Root, aerial parts, fixed oil
Cultivation/Harvesting Grown from seed, will freely self seed. Harvest aerial parts when in flower. Roots probably in spring or autumn. Seeds when ripe in autumn
A plant with beautiful yellow flowers. It releases its scent in the evening from dusk to attract the moths that pollinate it. It helps with the repair work that happns in the fruitful darkness, times of interior work and repair to the psyche and emotions. It provides nourishment and nutrients needed on all levels to repair . The tiny seeds are a favourite food of small birds like sparrows and finches iin the autumn when they are building up reserves to journey through the winter. The sight of small finches alighting on the long stems and bouncing up and down as theey feed is real delight in the autumn
Constituents (of aerial parts) tannins, resins, bitters, mucilage, potassium salts, anticoagulant subsrtances
Actions Febrifuge, sedative, antispasmodic, demulcent, anti-inflammatory
Traditional and current uses Gastroenteritis, whooping cough and other inflammatory conditions of the respiratory system
Several authors (including Christine Stapley and Rosemary Gladstar) mention tincturing the complete area parts, including seeds for a similar therapeutic effect to the oil.
All parts of the plant have been used as a vegetable. The roots can be steamed, sitr fired or roasted. The leaveas can be used as a pot herb- young leaves are pleasant in salads. The seeds contain linolenic and linoleic acids and are usually used to extract the oil for therapeutic use.