Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a flowering plant native to North America and widespread all over the world. As its name suggests, the plant has an unusual characteristic — its creamy to bright yellow flowers only bloom after sunset and on cloudy days. Blooming lasts from late spring to late summer. The blooms are yellow, 2.5–5 cm diameter, with four petals. The fruit is a capsule 2–4 cm long, containing numerous 1–2 mm long seeds, released when the capsule splits into four sections at maturity. All parts of the evening primrose plant can also be eaten. The leaves are cooked and eaten as greens and the roots are said to be sweet succulent and delicious when boiled like potatoes. Flowers are a sweet addition to salads or as a garnish and young seedpods are steamed. The evening primrose plant and its seeds have been used by American Indians for centuries. It is used as a tea in hot water to heal wounds, skin problems and other ailments.
Evening primrose oil is the oil derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant through a process of cold press extraction.
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