Ozark Sundrop vs. the Peruvian Primrose, Ludwigia peruviana ☹︎

The Ozarks, an expansive region stretching across the southern United States, has an aura of mystery. Steeped in history and cultural richness, this rugged landscape is home to diverse flora and fauna. One such plant, the Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana), has recently caught the attention of skeleton people.

In this article, we will explore the Ozark geographical region, the Ozark Sundrop, native region of the Oenothera, and a Florida native variety, the Water Primrose, Ludwigia repens. Skeleton Garden must alert you, the dark caves of the Devil will make an appearance in your quest for knowledge.

The Ozarks

The Ozarks, also known as the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau, is a region primarily located in the states of Missouri and Arkansas, with small portions extending into Oklahoma and Kansas. The region encompasses an area of approximately 47,000 square miles, a vast expanse.

The Ozarks’ diverse landscape is comprised of forests, glades, prairies, and wetlands and supports a rich array of native plant species, such as:

  1. Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana): This native evening primrose species features silvery-gray leaves and bright yellow flowers, making it a striking presence in the Ozark landscape. We will discuss this more later.
  2. Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis): This delicate woodland flower, with its red and yellow nodding blossoms, is a favorite among hummingbirds and gardeners alike.
  3. Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium): Despite its name, this petite, iris-like plant is not a grass but a member of the Iris family. Its small, blue flowers with yellow centers make it a delightful addition to the Ozark meadows and grasslands.
  4. Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea): This wildflower, with its bright red or orange bracts, adds a splash of color to the Ozark prairies and glades, like the paintbrush it resembles.
  5. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): Known for its medicinal properties, the purple coneflower is a staple of the Ozarks’ tallgrass prairies and glades. Its vibrant, purple-pink petals and prominent central cone make it a unique addition to the landscape.

This is a great article that mentions a few of these aftermentioned varieties.

From the bloom of spring beauties in late winter, to the last goldenrods of November, there is always a floral display somewhere. Many of our most appreciated wildflowers, like fire pink, larkspur, purple coneflower and columbine, are common here and easily identifiable for the beginner.


Enter the Ozark Sundrop

The Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana), is a captivating native plant that has garnered the interest of both horticulturists and ecologists alike. With its striking sharp green to silver leaves and vibrant yellow flowers, this subspecies of the evening primrose family has captured the hearts of many who are entranced by diverse flora.

The genus Oenothera, as well as other genera within the Onagraceae family, have indeed undergone taxonomic revisions based on recent phylogenetic studies. One such study is by Wagner et al. (2007), which analyzed the phylogeny of Oenothera and related genera using molecular data. The authors found evidence supporting the inclusion of Gaura and other genera within Oenothera. As a result, several species previously classified under Gaura have been reclassified under the Oenothera genus.

Where is the Ozark Sundrop Native?

Based on the classifications and studies reviewed for this article, the Ozark Sundrop is native mostly to the Central Southern Region. With genetic diversity and the changes to the Oenothera genus in consideration, it is a wide area, encompassing Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and even Tennessee. Please review a few of the USDA classifications and distributions, such as OEMAM, OEMA, OEMAI2, and OEMAO2.

Let’s compare to Central Florida and the Southeast Region. While the Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana) can certainly be found in Central Florida, it is not native to the region.

It is possible to find the Ozark Sundrop in Central Florida due to intentional planting in gardens or accidental introduction. It’s also a similar climate in some respects. Gardeners and horticulturists may be attracted to the Ozark Sundrop for its striking appearance and adaptability to various environmental conditions.

In Central Florida, you will find a genus within Onagraceae called Ludwigia. There is an aquatic variety of Primrose is called the Water Primrose. There are many sub-species of the Water Primrose found in Florida. One species, the Ludwigia peruviana, is not native to Florida. It can be an aggressive invader of wet, marshy areas, according to the University of Florida (UF, IFAS. 2011).

Killing the Ozark Sundrop

Over the past 100 years, like many other native varieties, the Ozarks has experienced a metamorphosis that has wrecked local flora. It is human settlement and the march of decay and death.

Forests are being cleared, roads and railways pierced the once impenetrable terrain, and towns blossomed from the very fabric of the landscape, destroying local flora like the Ozark Sundrops, Oenothera macrocarpa. Perhaps these industrialists will become lost in their piteous pursuits, and wind up dancing with the the Lucifer himself in the Devil’s Den.

The Devil’s Den is probably the result of a cataclysm in the earth’s surface caused by the caving in of a limestone cavern, a network of which underlays the whole Ozark region.

McConnell, Kaitlyn. 2015

Concerning Regions

Central Florida and the Southern Central region share some similarities in terms of environment, weather, and gardening, although there are also significant differences between the two regions.


  1. Humidity: Both Central Florida and the Ozarks experience high levels of humidity, especially during the summer months.
  2. Rainfall: Both regions receive relatively high annual rainfall, which can provide sufficient water for various plants to grow. However, the distribution of rainfall throughout the year may differ, with the Ozarks experiencing more evenly distributed precipitation, while Central Florida has a distinct wet and dry season.
  3. Native Plant Species: Some native plant species can be found in both Central Florida and the Ozarks, particularly those adapted to similar environmental conditions, such as wetlands or sandy soils.
  4. Insect and Wildlife Activity: Both regions support diverse insect and wildlife populations, including various pollinators and other beneficial organisms, which can be beneficial for gardeners who aim to cultivate native plants and support local ecosystems.


  1. Climate: Central Florida has a subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers, and mild winters. The Ozarks, situated in a more temperate climate zone, experience colder winters and generally milder summers compared to Central Florida.
  2. Frost and Freeze: Central Florida experiences fewer frost and freeze events, allowing for a longer growing season for certain plants. The Ozarks, on the other hand, have a shorter growing season due to more frequent frost and freeze events.
  3. Soil Types: Central Florida is known for its sandy, nutrient-poor soils, while the Ozarks have a more diverse range of soil types, including rocky and clay-based soils. This can impact the types of plants that thrive in each region and may require different soil amendments and cultivation techniques.
Scientific NameOenothera macrocarpa
Common NameOzark Sundrop, Bigfruit Evening Primrose
SpeciesO. macrocarpa
HabitatGlades, prairies, rocky slopes, and open woods
Native RangeCentral United States
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Life CyclePerennial
Bloom TimeLate spring to mid-summer
Flower ColorYellow
Flower StructureLarge, 4-petaled flowers, often solitary or in pairs
PollinatorsBees, moths, and other insects
Soil PreferenceWell-drained sandy or rocky soils
Light RequirementFull sun
Water RequirementLow to moderate; drought-tolerant once established
Propagation MethodsSeeds, cuttings, and division of clumps
Conservation StatusNot evaluated; however, it is considered rare or threatened in some parts of its range
UsesOrnamental, pollinator gardens, rock gardens, and native plantings


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