I was excited when I saw the Evening Primrose Outdoor Hour Challenge in my inbox last week, because I had just spent some time drawing one in my nature journal the day before. They are fairly plentiful in our back yard, and grow to between four and five feet tall. The boys and I picked some for our teatime flower arrangement, and noticed how fragrant they are.
During the day, we often see tiny insects inside the flower, and bumblebees flying into one, then another, pollinating them. I believe their normal pollination is done at night by moths, though we've never had a chance to see that happen.
From the Handbook of Nature Study, we discovered that evening primroses bloom very quickly in the evening. I went out to watch earlier this week and discovered that the time frame here was between 8:30 and 9:00. Since that's after bedtime for my little boys, watching the flowers open was an observation that had to wait for a special occasion. The boys and I finally went out together yesterday evening. We looked at all the plants and finally settled on one that had several buds that looked like they were about to bloom. Then we settled down to watch and wait. Within about ten minutes, we noticed one of the buds beginning to open. As the petals pushed against the sepals, the sepals suddenly let go one at a time, and curled back towards the stem. After that, the petals continued to unfurl until the flower was completely open. The whole process probably took about five minutes. Meanwhile, another flower had begun to open as well, so we got to watch two of them!
I think this was one of our favourite nature study experiences so far. It was so exciting to be able to watch a flower open before our eyes.
I will be sharing this post with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.