Beach Evening Primrose

sand dunesIt is that time of year to search for the four bright yellow petals that define the beach evening primrose, a floral native to the coasts of Oregon and California. This perennial flower’s preference to coastal sand dunes makes Pismo Beach a prime location to discover these beautiful displays of nature. You will find they form dense mats along the beach and in the sand dunes that can extend more than one meter across. Fortunately, it is not hard to find these delightful flowers as they continuously bloom from April to August.

Beach Evening Primrose Fun Facts:

  • The beach evening primrose opens in the morning, displaying four bright yellow petals
  • It closes in the evening, transforming into a hue of pale red
  • It is approximately the size of a silver dollar
  • The flower is also known as a “Beach Suncup”
  • Its extremely long taproot allows the flower to thrive even in droughts
  • Full sun and dry soil are the flower’s necessities
  • The dense mats formed by the flower serve as dune stabilizers when left alone
  • The beach evening primrose does not belong to the same family as the true primrose (Primula species)
  • The beach evening primrose acquired its name when English herbalist John Parkinson came to the New World in the 17th century, discovering the flower, he said the scent reminded him of English primroses.
  • Beach evening primroses bloom all day, while true primroses bloom in the evening and through the night
  • Its genus name “Camissonia” pays tribute to renowned writer and botanist Adelbert von Chamisso

Getting to the Oceano Dunes

If you are ready to seek out the beach evening primrose for yourself, access Pismo Beach’s Oceano Dunes from U.S. 101. Take the Pismo Beach SR-1 exit and drive south. You will find four access points to the dunes: Grover Beach, Oceano, Oso Flaco Lake, and Guadalupe.

Once there, you can walk to your heart’s content. You may find the Oso Flaco Lake access most interesting, as there is a causeway across the lake that turns into a trail through the dunes. The Oceano Dunes have been called one of the “most unique and fragile” ecosystems in California. Specialized plants of both common and uncommon varieties and subspecies have adapted to the unusual and difficult environmental conditions. Over the years they have created an especially interesting place to explore.

As you look for the beach evening primrose, search the sand areas just inland from the fore dunes, where the flower seeks a small amount of shelter from the strong sea breezes. You will find the flowers brighten up the sand and animate the stunning environment of the Oceano Dunes.

Flowers and more at the SeaCrest

After a nice stroll on the beach or near the dunes, we invite you to stay at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel in Pismo Beach. Your search for natural beauty can continue as you take in the miraculous coastal views from well-manicured lawns, a convenient barbeque area, a luxurious pool environment, from the privacy of your room, or own patio or balcony.

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