CPC Plant Profile: Eureka Dunes Evening-primrose
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Plant Profile

Eureka Dunes Evening-primrose (Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis)

This shot shows the entire flowering plant with its mountain locale in the background. Photo Credit: Walter Wisura
  • Global Rank: T2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Onagraceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 139362
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Oenothera californica is a perennial herb that produces white flowers from April to June. These flowers turn red as they age. The Eureka Dunes evening-primrose is found only in the southern portion of Eureka Valley Sand Dunes system in Indigo County, California. Since the 1960's, the Dunes have become a popular area for recreational four-wheel driving. Despite the closure of the Dunes to recreational driving, illegal activity continues (USFWS 1977, 1983). The spinning of wheels through the sand cuts this and other plants' roots, disabling their water uptake capability. Destruction of vegetation and disturbance to sand further promotes water loss for this and other dune species (USFWS 1983).

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  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 3 accessions of Oenothera californica subsp. eurekensis in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 62683 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 3 seed accessions of Oenothera californica subsp. eurekensis from 2 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 113 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to California, Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis is known only from the Eureka Dunes in Inyo County. Known from fewer than five occurrences, the populations are recovering well following the ban of recreational vehicles on the dunes. However, the delicate primrose is still threatened by vehicle trespass.

  • 01/01/2010

Habitat destruction and four-wheel driving.

  • 01/01/2010

There are fewer than five occurrences found in the Eureka Dune system.

  • 01/01/2010

Pavlik and Barbour's 1988 work on seed production, survivorship, seed bank and seed establishment showed that the endemic populations of Swallenia, Oenothera and Astragalus at the dunes are not declining. Although the plant populations appear to be stable, further study is warranted on the pollinator populations.

  • 01/01/2010

The primary objective of the Eureka Valley Dunes Recovery Plan is to protect the existing dunegrass and associated species from human threats. There is no plan for transplantation or other methods of propagation to support existing populations (USFWS 1983). The plan does however, call for adequate monitoring of remaining populations.

  • 01/01/2010

Population monitoring and general ecology of Oenothera californica would be helpful for conservation efforts.


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Taxon Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis
Authority (Munz & Roos) W. Klein
Family Onagraceae
CPC Number 2993
ITIS 525101
Common Names Eureka Valley evening primrose | Eureka Valley evening-primrose | Eureka Dunes evening primrose | Eureka evening-primrose
Associated Scientific Names Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis | Oenothera avita ssp. eurekensis | Oenothera deltoides ssp. eurekensis
Distribution It is endemic to the Eureka Dunes located in Eureka Valley in eastern Inyo County, California. Eureka Valley is northwest of Death Valley and is bordered by the Inyo Mountains to the north and west, t
State Rank
State State Rank
California S2

Oenothera californica is restricted to the sandy dunes of the Eureka Valley in eastern Inyo County, California. Here, it is associated with other rare species, including another Center for Plant Conservation taxon, Eureka Valley dune grass (Swallenia alexandrae). (CDFG 2002)

Ecological Relationships

Oenothera californica is associated with Eureka Valley dunegrass (Swallenia alexandrae) and Eureka locoweed (Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans), both are regarded as endangered.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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