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Oenothera filiformis — bee-blossom

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New England distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America distribution

Adapted from BONAP data



Bee-blossom is native to North America from Mexico to the Plains and the Midwest. In New England it is introduced, having been collected on railroads and disturbed areas in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields


New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
Flower petal color
  • pink to red
  • white
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower symmetry
there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Fruit length
5–9 mm
Show all characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets

    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers

    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached near its midpoint to the filament
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Anther length
    1.5–5 mm
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Anther tube length
    0 mm
    Calyx growth after flowering
    Calyx symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Carpel hairs
    the carpels have hairs, but they are not thick and woolly
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cilia on petals
    the petal margins do not have cilia
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    Corolla palate
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower appearance
    the flowers appear after the leaves have appeared
    Flower description
    the flower has an inferior ovary, with or without a hypanthium
    Flower petal color
    • pink to red
    • white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Fused stamen clusters
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Hairs on inflorescence
    at least some of the hairs on the axis of the inflorescence have glands
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    Interior flower disk
    the flower does not have an interior disc
    Length of flower stalk
    0–2 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    Number of carpels
    Number of pistils
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    Ovary position
    the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    the perianth is rotate (platter-shaped, the corolla flattened, circular, with nearly horizontally spreading lobes)
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • pink to red
    • white
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows abruptly at the base
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal glandular dots or scales
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    6–15 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    • the petals are about equal in length to the sepals
    • the petals are shorter than the sepals
    Petal nectaries
    the petals do not have nectaries
    Petal number
    Petal shape
    • the petal outline is another shape
    • the petal outline is obovate (roughly egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Petal tip shape
    • the petal tip is retuse (with a blunt or rounded apex and a notch at the center)
    • the petal tip is rounded
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    Sepal auricles
    the sepals have no auricles
    Sepal cilia
    the sepals do not have cilia
    Sepal color
    • green to brown
    • yellow
    Sepal length
    6–18 mm
    Sepal number
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are curved outwards and downwards from the corolla
    Sepal shape
    • the sepal outline is lanceolate (lance-shaped; narrow, gradually tapering from the base to the tip)
    • the sepal outline is linear (extremely narrow, thread-like)
    Sepal tip shape
    the sepal tip is acute (is sharply pointed)
    Sepal uniformity
    all the sepals are about the same size
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    • the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    • the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    Stamen appendages
    stamen appendages are present
    Stamen attachment
    • the stamens are attached at or near the bases of the petals or tepals
    • the stamens are attached at or near the bases of the petals or tepals
    Stamen lengths differ
    the stamens are all approximately the same length
    Stamen morphology
    the stamens within each cycle are the same
    Stamen number
    Stamen position relative to petals
    Stamen relative length
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style length
    10–12 mm
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Style relative length
    the stigma protrudes beyond the mouth of the corolla
    Surface of ovary
    the ovary surface has no points, bumps or wrinkles
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
  • Fruits or seeds

    Achene relative orientation
    Achene shape
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    Achene type
    Berry color
    Capsule color (Viola)
    Capsule ribs
    the capsule has four prominent ribs or wings
    Capsule splitting
    • NA
    • the capsule splits by four main valves, teeth or pores
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is roughly quadrangular in cross-secgtion
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    Fruit length
    5–9 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    Fruit length to width ratio
    Fruit locules
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Fruit stalk orientation
    • NA
    • the fruits point upward or spread or curve outward
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    2–3 mm
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits have hairs on them
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    Other markings on berry
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Ovary stipe length
    0 mm
    Placenta arrangement
    • the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    • the plant has parietal placentation, where ovules develop on the wall or slight outgrowths of the wall forming broken partitions within a compound ovary
    Relative fruit length
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    Seed length
    1.25–3.5 mm
    Seed number
    Seed relative length
    the seed is longer than it is wide
    Seeds comose
    no hairs
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap

    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form

    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    • the plant lives for two years
    • the plant lives only a single year or less
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves

    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    the plant has bracteoles between the primary bracts and the flowers
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Flower bract length
    1–6 mm
    Hairs on leaf stalk
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade length
    30–300 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip (it may or may not have secondary veins)
    Leaf blade width
    10–25 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    the hairs are flat against the leaf surface, mostly pointing towards the leaf tip
    Leaf sheath length
    0 mm
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    Leaf stalk base
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • the leaf blade margin has outward-pointing teeth
    • the leaf blade margin is wavy, but does not have teeth
    Leaf tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    There is an abrupt change in appearance of the leaves from the base (or near the base) of the plant to those from further up on the stem, with the basal leaves of conspicuously different shape or form than those slightly higher up.
    Leaf variation
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaflet number
    Leaflet petiolules
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipule edges
    Stipule features
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place

    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent

    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch

    Branched tendrils
    Direction of stem hairs
    • the hairs are pressed flat against the plant, pointing towards the plant's tip
    • the hairs point mostly upwards to outwards
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    at least some of the hairs on the stem have glands
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    Up to 400 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    the hairs on the stem are distributed more of less uniformly
    Stem nodes swollen
    the stem is not swollen at the nodes
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem does not feel rough
    Stem spacing
    the plant is solitary, or a few plants are growing together
    Stem succulence
    the stems are not succulent
    Tendril origin
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland status

Not classified

New England distribution and conservation status


New Hampshire
Rhode Island

Conservation status


Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes confused with

Oenothera curtiflora:
sepals 2–3.5 mm long, petals 1.5–3 mm long, and anthers 0.5–1 mm long (vs. O. filiformis, with sepals 6–18 mm long, petals 6–15 mm long, and anthers 1.5–5 mm long).
Oenothera gaura:
stems densely villous, inflorescence villous and stipitate-glandular, and bracts 1–2.25 x 0.5–1 mm (vs. O. filiformis, with stems densely strigulose, often with a mixture of glandular or villous pubescence as well, inflorescence densely strigulose, hirtellous, and/or stipitate-glandular, and bracts 1–6 x 0.5–2 mm).


  • Gaura biennis L. var. pitcheri Torr. & Gray
  • Gaura filiformis Small
  • Gaura longiflora Spach





From the dichotomous key of Flora Novae Angliae

3.  Oenothera filiformis (Small) W. L. Wagner & Hoch E

bee-blossom. Gaura biennis L. var. pitcheri Torr. & Gray; G. filiformis Small; G. longiflora Spach • CT, MA. Fields, roadsides, waste areas, railroads.