Herb of the Day
Evening Primrose Family
Mostly herbs, this family includes the evening primroses, whose flowers open in the evening and close up the next morning. The flowers have four petals followed by capsules with numerous little black seeds.
The common evening primrose is the species most frequently used for food. It is a biennial that germinates in late summer or early fall after the seeds from the previous year have dropped. Leaves have a reddish midrib and form a rosette in the fall. They remain on the plant through the winter. The next spring it sends up a flower stalk with alternating leaves that get smaller as they near the top. Their roots are starchy and can be eaten. Young leaves, flowers, and seeds of the evening primroses are also edible.
The seeds of this plant are rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid, which are used in the body to manufacture anti-inflammatory substances. Studies show that taking evening primrose oil can decrease bone turnover and increase bone mineral density in people with osteoporosis.