Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is yet another nutritious plant to consider offering to your bunny or other small pet. Native to North America, Evening Primrose is easily grown and has medicinal properties which can help bunnies and other herbivores (people included) with gastrointestinal problems, respiratory problems, arthritis and other ailments.
In the first year of growth, the biennial (lives two years and dies) plant produces dark green leaves which spread out flat near the ground. In the second year, the plant usually grows to a height of 3 or 4 feet, although in the slideshow you will see a primrose that grew to the height of a second story window! In early summer the 2nd-year plants produce yellow flowers which attract hummingbirds and butterflies, followed by pods which contain the small black seeds which will fall to the ground and start the next cycle of primrose plants. Evening Primrose easily grows just about anywhere, including old fields, ditches, the cracks of sidewalks, and any old terrible soil
Every part of the plant is edible and useful. People (of all ages) and bunnies and other pets enjoy the mild, slightly peppery and mucilaginous leaves in a salad, and the roots, leaves, flowers and seeds can all be made into tea or into a tincture. Evening Primrose has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-spasmodic properties, and is useful as adjunct therapy for ailments of the respiratory system, GI system, reproductive system, and kidneys. It is also has positive, balancing effect on the nervous system, helping to soothe irritability and ease depression and anxiety. The best results are achieved if primrose is used long term.
Primrose leaves can be mashed, mixed with a few drops of coconut oil (or olive oil) and used as a topical treatment for skin ailments, such as insect bites, bruises, wounds and other skin irritations. The topical preparation can be safely licked off by your pet.
Evening Primrose can also be made into a tincture (infused) and a few drops of the tincture can be added to your bunny’s banana slice or to your bunny’s water (see the slideshow for more on this).
The roots of the plant are edible (humans prefer them boiled, bunnies prefer them raw), and the edible seeds contain a significant amount of essential fatty acids. The seeds can be collected from the green pods in late summer, crushed, and added to flax seed oil – keep this preparation in the refrigerator so it does not go rancid. A few drops of the oil can be applied to a mashed banana or a dried cranberry for your bunny or other small pet.
You can go here to find out more about this beautiful, nutritious and medicinal plant and its many uses. Consider starting some Evening Primrose in your garden – it will add beauty, attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and you and your pets will enjoy the healthy and medicinal properties of this valuable plant.
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First year Primrose
In the first year of growth, the biennial (lives two years and dies) Evening Primrose plant produces dark green leaves which spread out flat near the ground.
Amazingly tall Evening Primrose
In the second year of growth, the Evening Primrose usually grows to a height of 3 or 4 feet, although this one grew to the height of a second story window!
Evening Primrose grows anywhere!
As you can see, Evening Primrose easily grows just about anywhere, including old fields, ditches, the cracks of sidewalks, and any old terrible soil. Or no soil.
Preparing an Evening Primrose tincture
To make a tincture, gather up fresh leaves and blossoms (and roots, if you like) of the Evening Primrose – enough to make about two handfuls.
Chopping the leaves and flowers for tincture
The leaves and flowers should be well-chopped in order to more easily release the water-soluble and oil-soluble phytonutrients contained in the Primrose.
Evening Primrose tincture
Place the chopped leaves and flowers in a clean Ball jar and add enough Rain brand organic vodka to just cover the chopped herb. You will then fasten the lid tightly and place the jar in a dark place (cupboard will do) for 2 to 6 weeks, giving the jar a shake every day. After the tonic has steeped for weeks, strain through cheesecloth. Keep the strained tincture in a glass container.