Evening primrose is a flowering plant that originated more than 70,000 years ago in what is now Mexico and South America. It is also known by the names "fever plant," and "king's-cure-all plant." The blooms are delicate and showy. Every part of the evening primrose plant -- from petals to roots -- is edible. Parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes.
The evening primrose plant grows to 4 to 5 feet tall. The branches are plentiful and thick with leaves, which gives the plant a bushy look. The center main stalk of the plant is thick and strong, and is covered with short hair. The leaves of the evening primrose are rough and hairy, and approximately 4 inches long.
The flowers of the evening primrose are bright yellow. The flowers bloom on off-shoot branches that come off of the main stem. Each blossom measures approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Evening primrose blossoms have only four petals per flower. The blossoms open in the evening, and close soon after the sun rises.
The flower petals are slightly sweet, and are used as garnishes or in salads. Stems and leaves are used as greens. Boiled roots are sweet and starchy, like sweet potatoes. The seed pods can be steamed and eaten as pea pods are eaten.
The seeds of evening primrose contain an oil valued for its medicinal purposes. Evening primrose oil contains an Omega-6 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid, which are believed to aid in certain ailments.
According to AltNature, evening primrose oil is believed to aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, menopause, intestinal disorders, asthma, and diseases of the liver.
If you don't have the patience or desire to grow your own evening primrose plant, but want to enjoy the benefits of evening primrose oil, be careful where you purchase the oil. As with any other medicinal herb, evening primrose oil production and manufacturing is not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. Purchase only from reputable vendors and manufacturers.