Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Shrubby Water Primrose, Mexican Primrose Willow
Ludwigia octovalvis

Family: Onagraceae (on-uh-GRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ludwigia (lud-WIG-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: octovalvis (ok-toh-VAL-vis) (Info)

Synonym:Ludwigia octovalis
Synonym:Ludwigia octovalvis subsp. octovalvis

Ponds and Aquatics
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 17 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive mskasik On Oct 13, 2014, mskasik from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

The Water Primrose grows all around the ponds at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

Positive DonnaB On Oct 3, 2008, DonnaB from Vancleave, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:

is host plant for the Banded Sphinx Moth.

Can be a pain around my pond. Hand pulling is keeping it under control so far

Positive JeanneTX On Aug 29, 2006, JeanneTX from Willis, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

As usual I find Dave's Garden "Plant Files" invaluable..I had this pop up as a volunteer in my garden and had never seen it before..someone on a posting help me id it and I found it here....very pretty "wildflower"??...Jeanne

Positive htop On Nov 10, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Other common names for the shrubby water primrose, Mexican primrose willow (Ludwigia octovalvis) include false loosestrife, narrow-leaf water primrose, West Indian evening primrose and seedbox. It is native to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the Virgin Islands. It grows in wet soils or the mud of ditches, fields and rice fields, as well as the edges of marshes, ponds and streams. The plants are often found in large colonies. It has a taproot and long lateral roots that run just under the soil surface.

It is an upright growing, shrubby perennial that has a round stem which is usually much branched. The lower stems are often woody with the upper stems being herbaceous. The short stalked, alternating leaves can be up to 6 inches long and 1 5/8 inches wide and are narrowed at both ends. The shrubby water primerose is a host plant for the water-primrose hornworm moth. The 1 5/8 to 2 inch, bright yellow, 4-petaled, 4-sepaled, stalked blooms appear from July through November from the upper leaf axils. The blooms are bisexual. The fruit are long, slender, erect, cylindrical, 4-sided, several ribbed pods that are up to 2 inches long. They are quite lovely and are often used in flower arrangements. These pods contain many seeds. The seeds are rounded, brown and shiny and are usually dispersed by water movement and ducks. The root and stem are said to promote diuresis, reduce fever and lower the blood pressure.

Positive trois On Aug 7, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

A very attractive marginal for pond background. Blooms all warm weather. Each petal is heart shaped. The leaves are slender and smooth. The stems are reddish. The entire plant is very attractive and draws favorable comments. On my lily pond it is forming a background on the east side of the pond, the other is framed by water Iris.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brandon, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Maricao, Puerto Rico
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Longview, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Willis, Texas

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