You know how a song can get stuck in your head? I’ve been singing “Build Me Up Buttercup,” the '60s hit by The Foundations, in my mind for days now. It started when I saw Buttercups blooming on the side of the road, just in time for National Wildflower Week, which is the first full week of May.
While researching Buttercups, I found most people call these wildflowers Evening Primroses or Pink Ladies. But I have always called them Buttercups. That is one reason gardeners use a plant’s Latin name for identification.
Pink Buttercup (Oenothera speciosa) is native to Texas, is drought tolerant, can take full sun, will grow in poor soil, and has a cheerful, pretty bloom. They are attractive to native bees, and birds eat their seeds. With big and showy flowers, these are as beautiful as any cultivated plant.
When I was a child, my sisters and I would push Pink Buttercup blooms up to our noses and breathe in to smell their scent. This would leave yellow pollen on the tips of our noses, which we thought was funny. Perhaps that helped boost our bodies’ immune systems. We soon learned there was a hidden danger in doing that—we needed to look for bees first before putting the flower near our faces.
The color of Pink Buttercups changes from white to dark pink, but supposedly the changes are linked to latitude, with the blooms being whiter in the North, and darker pink in the South. In the North, they also tend to bloom later in the day, even at night, so that is why many call them Evening Primroses. In the South, they usually bloom during the day.
Pink Buttercups can spread to become a nice ground cover. But should you decide to add Pink Buttercups to your garden, be prepared to have yellow-nosed children running around, and a song stuck in your mind whenever they are in bloom.