Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Coarse, erect, taprooted native annual or biennial; single-stemmed, branched above; up to 2 m. Herbage clothed with soft long hairs, sometimes glandular. Leaves: Lance-ovate to lanceolate or oblong, obtuse at the base, remotely denticulate, up to 10 cm long; larger leaves usually at least 4 cm. Flowers: Inflorescence of elongate many-flowered spikes, bracts slender 1.5-5.5 mm long, deciduous; flowers quite small, self-pollinating; floral tube 1.5-5 mm long; 4 sepals 2-3.5 mm long; separately reflexed at anthesis; 4 petals 1.5-3 mm long, red to pink. Fruits: Capsule glabrous or seldom short-hairy, 5-10 mm long, spindle-shaped to lanceolate, 4-angled, tapering to a slender base. Ecology: Native weed of fields, pastures, and streamsides, up to about 6,500 ft (2000 m); flowers June-October. Distribution: Most states in the US except for the east coast; south to c MEX. Notes: A tall, robust annual, depending on growing conditions, can reach 2 m; distinguished by being densely glandular-hairy, feeling velvety to the touch; the leaves are slightly wavy dentate; the spike is long, often drooping and crowded with flowers which are un-stalked, and are smaller than the other small-flowered, diurnal Oenothera. Ethnobotany: Hopi used root to treat snake bites. Navajo used to treat burns, inflammation and snake bites. Etymology: Gaura is from the Greek -gauros- superb or proud, presumably because of the erect, proud petals, while mollis means smooth, or with soft velvety hair. Synonyms: Gaura mollis, Gaura parviflora var. lachnocarpa, Gaura parviflora var. typica Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015
Coarse, erect, taprooted, mostly single-stemmed annual or biennial to 2 m, branched above, glandular and softly spreading-villosulous; lvs lance-ovate to lanceolate or oblong, obtuse at base, remotely denticulate, to 10 cm; spikes much elongate, many-fld; fls autogamous, virtually regular; sep 2-3.5 mm, reflexed separately; pet 1.5-3 mm, turning pink; anthers 0.5-1 mm; fr glabrous or seldom short-hairy, 5-10 mm, fusiform to lanceolate, tapering to a sessile base, with a rounded rib on each of the 4 angles and a slender rib on each face; seeds 3-4; 2n=14. Weed of fields, pastures, streamsides, etc.; Ind. to Wash., s. to Tex. and n. Mex., and occasionally adventive eastward. May-Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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Plant: Annual forb to 2 m with stout taproot; often branching above the middle; herbage glandular Leaves: stem leaves alternate, soft velvety, elliptic to oblanceolate; inflorescence a spikelike raceme, erect, slender, many-flowered 20-30 cm long; ovary inferior; flowers small, petals ~2 mm long, pale to bright pinkish; filaments and style exerted Flowers: fruits hard, woody, indehiscent, nutlike, widest near the base. Fruit: fruits hard, woody, indehiscent, nutlike, widest near the base.