Oenothera Species, Pale Evening Primrose, White Buttercup

Oenothera pallida subsp. runcinata

Family: Onagraceae (on-uh-GRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Oenothera (ee-no-THEE-ruh) (Info)
Species: pallida subsp. runcinata
Synonym:Oenothera runcinata




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Montgomery, Alabama

Selma, Alabama

Thomaston, Alabama

Norco, Louisiana

Roswell, New Mexico

Arlington, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 12, 2007, Archena from Thomaston, AL wrote:

I've always loved this plant. It grows wild throughout the Black Belt of Alabama, often filling up medians and roadsides. I have a patch in my yard that requires no work whatsoever. It's been there ten years and hasn't significantly invaded - frequent mowing seems to prevent it.

When I was a girl my Mother told me it was a buttercup despite the bright pink and pale white colors. She demonstrated the reason by sniffing a bloom up close - and coming out with a yellow nose from the pollen. This is the only site I've seen confirm the name buttercup!

Bees love them - you can almost always find one or two buzzing around when they are in full bloom.


On Jan 25, 2005, pokerboy from Canberra,
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

The flowers seem similar to the common evening primrose. Oenothera speciosa. pokerboy.


On Aug 8, 2004, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Amazing...how such short plants (the foliage, a rosette, reaches only a few cm ) bring such big flowers. I 've measured them 12 cm across. They open early evening. I miss the scent of the other oenothera species. But growing along my gardenpath they are like lightning beacons in the evening.
When the blooms fade they turn in a beautifull pink. Flowers bloom for only one night, but there are always more to come.
Our summer's drought is no problem for them.
I 've propagated them from seed and they 're blooming in its first year. Let's see what they do next year and maybe I'll upgrade my comment.