Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Devil’s Lantern, Lion-in-a-Cage, Basket Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)

Desert Primrose, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Devil’s Lantern, Lion-in-a-Cage, Basket Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)

Oenothera deltoides is a species of evening primrose known by several common names, including birdcage evening primrose, basket evening primrose, lion in a cage, and devil’s lantern. It is native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it grows in sandy habitats from desert to beach.

The plant is grayish with basal, deltoid leaves. The large white flowers turn pinkish as they mature. When the plants die, the stems curl upward and form the “birdcage” for which the common name is derived.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

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