Contorted-Pod Evening Primrose

An endangered annual herb that ranges from BC to California. There are nine known populations in Canada, all of which are found on the SE coast of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. It's found on sandy backshore habitats, preferring elevations under 100 meters and open areas that are moist in the winter and spring and very dry by mid-summer (e.g. Duck Bay, the Meadows and areas of DL 1375, such as Beacon Point). It blooms here in May and June.

A Contorted-Pod Evening Primrose at the Meadows

A Contorted-Pod Evening Primrose at the Meadows

1. For a complete and detailed description of this herb, click here.

2. It was first [officially] discovered on Savary at Duck Bay in May of 2002 by Phil Henderson, a professional biologist.
(Source: SILTS 2005 newsletter)

3. The plant is also known as Oenothera biennis. According to Plants of Coastal British Columbia "The meaning of oenothera is not clear. It is probably from the Greek meaning 'winescented', although one source says it means 'wine-catching' (the roots having been taken after a meal to induce further wine-drinking) and another says it means “ass-catcher” (with no explanation why; perhaps it has something to do with people’s behaviour after drinking all that wine?)"

4. It turns out the plant has a powerful political role on Savary, sort of like the spotted owl. Click here to read a March 2011 letter sent to Parks Canada by The Coastal Sand Ecosystems Recovery Team commenting on the development application for DL 1375. Here's an excerpt:

"… this property contains one of eight remaining populations of Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (CPEP) in Canada…. CPEP is listed as an Endangered Species under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Under SARA, Endangered species must have a recovery strategy produced and critical habitat must be identified and protected."

5. Click here to read the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Assessment and Status Report on the plant. It gives a clear explanation of why it is endangered.
Categories: herbs flora politics

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