Evening primrose family

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Evening primrose family
1. Onagreae tribe: Common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), illustration and 2. Circaeeae tribe: Large witch's herb (Circaea lutetiana), illustration

1. Onagreae tribe: Common evening primrose ( Oenothera biennis ), illustration
and 2. Circaeeae tribe: Large witch's herb ( Circaea lutetiana ), illustration

Nuclear eudicotyledons
Eurosiden II
Order : Myrtle-like (Myrtales)
Family : Evening primrose family
Scientific name

The evening primrose family (Onagraceae) are a family of plants within the order of the myrtle-like (Myrtales). Oenothera species are important test plants in genetics . Fuchsia species and their varieties in particular are ornamental plants .


Tribus Circaeeae: Illustration of Fuchsia venusta
Tribe Onagreae: Four-fold flowers in detail from Clarkia amoena subsp. whitneyi
Open capsule fruit and seeds of the common evening primrose ( Oenothera biennis )

Appearance and leaves

They are mostly annual, perennial or herbaceous plants or bushes , rarely trees with heights of up to 30 meters.

The leaves are alternate and screwy, opposite or whorled. The leaf blades are usually simple or rarely pinnate. The leaf margin is smooth to toothed. Stipules are missing or present.

Inflorescences and flowers

The flowers stand alone or in racemose , panicle or spike-like inflorescences .

The flowers are mostly hermaphroditic; in Fuchsia there are also unisexual flowers, there are then dioecious, separate-sexed ( diocesan ) species. The flowers are usually radial symmetry , rarely zygomorphic , usually fourfold (except with Ludwigia , two to siebenzählig) with double perianth (perianth). The four sepals are fused and are green or colored. The four petals are free or rarely absent; they are nailed at times. In the bud position they are mostly left-covering. There are two circles with four stamens each. Most of the four carpels are fused to form a subordinate, syncarpic, four- chamber ovary. Each ovary chamber contains one to numerous anatropic, bitegmic ovules in a central-angled placentation. The stylus has a four-lobed, clubbed or spherical scar. The conspicuous flower cup (hypanthium) can be considered a specialty in the family . This is a tube formed from the calyx that extends the flower organs beyond the ovary below; as a result, the flower seems to have a stalk between the ovary and the other parts (missing in Ludwigia ). The nectar-exuding disc sits at the base of the hypanthium.
The flower formula is:


Fruits and seeds

Mostly columnar capsule fruits are formed. There are also nuts ( gaura ) or berries ( fuchsia ). The fruits contain two to a hundred seeds. The small, smooth or variously sculpted seeds contain no endosperm and have a straight, oil-containing embryo; they rarely have a wing or a tuft of hair (coma).


The species of the northern hemisphere are mostly pollinated by moths ( entomophilia ); in the case of the genus Fuchsia , however, pollination is mostly carried out by birds: hummingbirds ( ornithophilia ). wind pollination ( anemophilia ) also occurs.

Tribe Circaeeae : Fuchsia magellanica
Tribus Epilobieae : flower of the hairy fireweed ( Epilobium hirsutum )
Tribe Hauyeae : flower of Hauya heydeana
Tribe Lopezieae : Mexican Lopezie ( Lopezia racemosa )
Tribe Onagreae : Petite Clarkie ( Clarkia unguiculata )
Onagreae tribe : Oenothera nuttallii
Subfamily Ludwigioideae : flowers of Ludwigia octovalvis

Systematics and distribution

This family has been through in 1789 Antoine Laurent de Jussieu under the name "Onagrae" in Genera plantarum , S. 317-318 first published . The type genus is Onagra Mill. , Today a synonym of Oenothera L. The botanical name Onagra is derived from the Greek words onos for donkey and agra for hunting. Synonyms for Onagraceae Juss. are: Circaeaceae Bercht. & J. Presl , Epilobiaceae Vent. , Jussiaeaceae Martinov , Oenotheraceae CCRobin .

The species of the family Onagraceae have their areas in the temperate latitudes of the earth, for example in large parts of Europe, but especially many taxa in North America . In addition, they occur in the subtropics to the tropics. Actually, they are only missing in the desert regions of Australia and Africa .

The genera of the evening primrose family native to Europe include witch herbs ( Circaea ), willowherb ( Epilobium ) and evening primrose ( Oenothera ).

The evening primrose family (Onagraceae) is divided into two subfamilies and six tribes with a total of 17 to 24 genera and around 650 species:

  • Subfamily Onagroideae W.L.Wagner & Hoch : It contains six tribe and (15 to) about 22 genera:
    • Tribus Circaeeae : It contains only two genera:
      • Witch herbs ( Circaea L. ): The eight or so species are distributed in the temperate to boreal areas of the northern hemisphere at altitudes between 0 and 5000 meters from 10 ° to 70 ° N.
      • Fuchsias ( Fuchsia L. ): The 100 or so species are mainly found in the Neotropics .
    • Tribe Epilobieae : It contains only two genera:
      • Chamaenerion Ség. (Syn .: Chamerion (Raf.) Raf. Ex Holub ; sometimes referred to as Epilobium ): The eight or so species are mainly distributed in montane to arctic areas of the northern hemisphere ( Holarctic ), for example:
      • Willowherb ( Epilobium L. , Syn .: Boisduvalia Spach , Cordylophorum Rydb. , Cratericarpium Spach , Crossostigma Spach , Zauschneria C.Presl ): The approximately 165 species are mainly in the temperate zones of North America and Central Europe ( Holarctic ), in total from the montane, boreal to arctic zone in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, as well as North and South America.
    • Tribus Gongylocarpeae : It contains only one genus:
      • Gongylocarpus Schltdl. & Cham. (Including Burragea Donn. Sm. & Rose ): Of the roughly two species, one species is endemic to two islands off the western coast of Baja California and the other species is native to Mexico.
    • Tribe Hauyeae : It contains only one genus:
    • Tribe Lopezieae : It contains two genera:
    • Tribe Onagreae : The approximately 13 genera are mainly distributed in the New World:
      • Camissonia Link : The approximately 62 species are almost all distributed in western North America, only one occurs in South America.
      • Camissoniopsis W.L.Wagner & Hoch : The approximately 14 species are distributed in southwestern North America.
      • Chylismia (Torr. & A. Gray) Raim. : The approximately 16 species are common in the deserts of western North America.
      • Chylismiella (Munz) WLWagner & Hoch : It contains only one type:
      • Clarkia Pursh : The approximately 41 species are almost all distributed in western North America, only one occurs in South America. Here is a selection of types:
        • Clarkia Amoena ( Clarkia amoena (clay). A.Nelson & JFMacbr. )
        • Fairy Fan Clarkie ( Clarkia breweri (A.Gray) Greene )
        • Lovely Clarkie ( Clarkia concinna (Fish. & CAMey.) Greene ): It is found in northern California.
        • Large-flowered Clarkie ( Clarkia pulchella Pursh ): It is found in British Columbia, South Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
        • Diamond Clarkie ( Clarkia rhomboidea Douglas ): It is found in the western United States and northern Mexico.
        • Petite Clarkie ( Clarkia unguiculata Lindl. ): It occurs in California.
      • Eremothera (PHRaven) WLWagner & Hoch : The seven or so species are common in the deserts of western North America.
      • Eulobus Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray : With one species in California and Arizona and three species in Baja California.
      • Magnificent candles ( Gaura L. ): The approximately 21 species are distributed in central and eastern North America to central Mexico. For example:
      • Gayophytum A. Juss. : The approximately nine species are common in western North America and western South America.
      • Evening primrose ( Oenothera L. , syn .: Onagra Mill. , Anogra Spach , Baumannia Spach , Blennoderma Spach , Galpinsia Britton , Gaurella Small , Gauridium Spach , Gauropsis C.Presl , Gauropsis (Torr. & Frem.) Cockerell , Hartmannia Spach , Kneiffia Spach , Lavauxia Spach , Megapterium Spach , Meriolix Raf. ex Endl. , Onosuris Raf. , Onosurus G.Don orth. var., Pachylophus Spach , Peniophyllum Pennell , Raimannia Rose , Salpingia (Torr. & A. Gray) Raim. , Schizocarya Spach , Usoricum Lunell , Xylopleurum Spach ): The approximately 121 species originally come from the New World. They thrive in temperate to subtropical areas; many species are pioneer plants on disturbed areas. Some species are now neophytes worldwide .
      • Holmgrenia W.L.Wagner & Hoch : The roughly two species are common in western North America.
      • Stenosiphon Spach : It contains only one type:
      • Tetrapteron (Munz) WLWagner & Hoch : The two or so species are common in western North America.
      • Xylonagra Donn.Sm. & Rose : It contains only one species:
  • Subfamily Ludwigioideae W.L.Wagner & Hoch :
    • It contains only one genus:
      • Hay herbs ( Ludwigia L. , Syn .: Jussiaea L. , Isnardia L. , Oocarpon Micheli ): The approximately 82 species are distributed almost worldwide, on all continents except Antarctica .


  • The family of Onagraceae in APWebsite. (Sections Description and Systematics)
  • The Onagraceae family at DELTA. (Section description)
  • Jiarui Chen, Peter C. Hoch, Peter H. Raven, David E. Boufford, Warren L. Wagner: Onagraceae. In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (Eds.): Flora of China . tape 13 : Clusiaceae through Araliaceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 2007, ISBN 978-1-930723-59-7 , pp. 400 (English, online ). (Section description)
  • Warren L. Wagner , Peter C. Hoch, Peter H. Raven: Revised Classification of the Onagraceae (= Systematic Botany Monographs. Volume 83). American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Ann Arbor, Mich. 2007, ISBN 978-0-912861-83-8 (PDF file). (Section systematics)

Individual evidence

  1. Onagraceae at Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  2. a b c d e f g Onagraceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
  3. Alexander N. Sennikov: Chamerion or Chamaenerion (Onagraceae)? The old story in new words. In: Taxon. Volume 60, No. 5, 2011, pp. 1485-1488 ( abstract ).
  4. ^ M. Socorro González Elizondo, I. Lorena López Enriquez, Warren L. Wagner: Megacorax gracielanus (Onagraceae), a New Genus and Species from Durango, Mexico. In: Novon. Volume 12, No. 3, 2002, pp. 360-365.

Web links

Commons : Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae)  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files