Wavy-leaf Gaura


Wavy-leaf Gaura, Gaura sinuata, with a number of flowers clustered together in the above image.  There are 4 clawed petals (slender stalk at the bottom of the petal), almost standing erect and spaced equally apart (see the flower in the upper right corner), and 8 stamens (male flower parts) hanging down in front.

This is one of several species of Gaura found here in the Rolling Plains and is widespread in Texas. The Flora of the Great Plains describes this particular species of Gaura as “often too common in sandy prairies & open woodlands, stream valleys, roadsides, waste places.” Nevertheless, an attractive part of our local flora.

4 responses to “Wavy-leaf Gaura

  1. Should it now be Oenethera sinuata?

    A beautiful flower indeed.


  2. Ted–As far as I know this species is still part of the genus Gaura. The page for this plant from the USDA PLANTS database (http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GASI) shows it is still a Gaura. Thanks for the comment.

  3. It was a pretty recent change – Gaura, along with Calylophus and Stenosiphon, have been reassigned as sections of Oenethera. The reference is Wagner et al. (2007). The senior author is at the Smithsonian Institute, so their website reflects the change – it’ll eventually make it into the others as well.

    Incidentally, in looking at the Smithsonian site, it looks like Gaura sinuata had to be renamed Oenethera sinuosa for some reason.

    I only know all this because I recently used the name Gaura biennis in some correspondence with someone at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and they clued me that it is now called Oenethera gaura.

    Damned taxonomists 😉

  4. Thanks for the update. Guess I have not had my nose in the journals enough. I guess from a molecular phylogenetic perspective Gaura belongs in Oenothera even though the gross flower morphology of many of the species in the two genera are quite different. I think they said the common morphological character was the lobing of the stigma (pollen receptive surface). You may have generated an idea for a future essay….

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