Oenothera fruticosa subsp. glauca

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: sundrops 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Onagraceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers heat and dryish soils. Tolerates poor soils, light shade and some drought. If plant foliage depreciates in summer after flowering, stems may be cut back to the basal rosette. Easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden. Slowly spreading rosettes.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Oenothera fruticosa, commonly called sundrops or southern sundrops, is an erect, day-flowering member of the evening primrose family. It is native to eastern North America. It typically grows 15-30” tall and produces terminal clusters of bright yellow four-petaled flowers in late spring on stems clad with lanceolate green leaves (1-3” long). Rosette leaves (to 1-4” long) are oblanceolate. Flowers are followed by distinctive club-shaped seed capsules. Flowers bloom during the day, hence the appropriate common name of sundrops. Each flower is short-lived, but flowers bloom in succession over a fairly long period of two months.

Subsp. glauca is native from Nova Scotia to Michigan south to South Carolina and Louisiana. Leaves of subspecies plants are primarily distinguished from the species by being broader, glaucous (with red tinting when young) and usually less glabrous. Subspecies flowers may be lighter yellow. Cup-shaped, four-petaled, pale yellow flowers (1-2” across) bloom in early summer in 3-10 flowered racemes. Lanceolate leaves (to 4” long) usually are bluish-green. Plant stems may have red tinting. Flowers give way to winged seed capsules (to 1/2” long) which have limited ornamental interest. This subspecies is generally considered to be synonymous with O. fraseri, O. glauca and O. tetragona.

Genus name is unclear but may have come from the Greek words oinos and theras meaning wine-seeker in probable reference to an ancient use of the roots of genus plants in scenting wine.

Specific epithet means shrubby or bushy.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Borders, wild gardens, rock gardens, native plant areas or cottage gardens.