Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Biennial Bee-Blossom (Oenothera gaura) (Also known as: Gaura biennis): Images

Date Location Notes Images
June 24, 2012 White Mountains are, New Hampshire What an amazing find! Actually, Arthur Haines found this before it flowered while he was teaching a class. When I was back in the area, I looked to see what it had turned into. At first I wasn’t sure that it was a Evening Primrose genus (Oenothera), so I went through the Onagraceae (Evening Primrose family) key:
  • Calyx and Corolla has 4 to 6 petals.
  • 8 stamen.
  • Flowers zygomorphic, the petals all oriented toward one side of the flower. I was told by Arthur Haines to also notice that the stamen in this case are oriented toward one side of the flower. Genus: Oenothera
  • Flowers zygomorphic.
  • Petals 6-15 mm long. Anthers 1.5-5 mm long.
Once I was this far along in the key, I had to decide between Biennial Bee-Blossom (Oenothera gaura) and Longflower Bee-Blossom (Oenothera filiformis, Gaura biennis var. pitcheri, Guara longiflora). This was a very difficult task relying on my pictures only (since it is a 2-1/2 drive to the flower). The stem and inflorescence of Biennial Bee-Blossom are densely villous (long, soft, bent hairs, not tangled). The backs of the leaves are short-villous along the margins. On the other hand, Longflower Bee-Blossom stems and inflorescence are densely strigulose (tiny straight, stiff, sharp and appressed hairs). Looking at the closeup pictures towards the bottom of the table below, I came to the conclusion that most of the hairs are villous and therefore the plant is Biennial Bee-Blossom. It is a very rare plant in Eastern New England.