Rose-Evening Primroses

Watching Emma Marris`s TED Talk “Nature is Everywhere-we just need to see it” changed my idea of what nature is. It is not just the untouched green areas of mankind but can be the very wild flower growing out of your unmowed lawn. I walked around my neighborhood to find some bits of nature and something I could do research on. I found this pretty pink wild flower near my home.

The flower`s official name is the Oenothera rosea but is often called the rosy evening-primrose. It is also called the rose evening-primrose, pink evening primrose, or the Rose of Mexico. They are originally from Southern North American to parts of South America. The seeds were brought into Japan in the Meiji period as an ornamental flower, but now grow wild along the streets and fields. They mainly bloom in the Kanto area to the east from the month of May to September. The flower was known to bloom in the afternoon giving it the name in Japanese, “Yugeshou(夕化粧)” which means “Afternoon make-up,” however the flowers can now be seen from noon. The flower has been moved far from its native origins to plant its roots in the country of Japan.

The Rosy evening-primrose in my neighborhood were growing out of a community garden bed. The garden bed is usually filled with Moss phlox flowers (Shiba-zakura”芝桜” in Japanese) in the spring. In recent years, the community has not been able to take care of the Moss phlox, therefore the garden bed is now filled with dozens of different plant species. The rosy evening primroses grew together in small packs. There were six species of plants that had flowers blooming and dozens of species of grass and weeds that were impossible to count. I also found six species of bugs just on the wild pink flowers, one of which was buzzing within the pedals. The leaves of many of the Rosy evening-primrose had holes showing that it had been eaten by bugs. The garden bed was fenced by a single rope so that people were restricted to enter, making it a peaceful area for such plants to grow with no human intervention. Its relation to bugs indicates that the species has become a part of the community and plays a role in the life cycle of the ecosystem of the garden bed.

From the studies and observation, the Rosy evening-primrose or Oenothera rosea, which once was an ornamental flower now plants its roots all over Japan from its history of being introduced from the Americas. It has become part of the natural community of Japan.

・  “Nature is Everywhere-we just need to see it” Ted Talk by Emma Marris

・  Minnanohanazukan “みんなの花図鑑”


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