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.
To receive email notifications when my new articles post to the Dayton Small Pets Examiner page, please use the "Subscribe to Email" link (under the headline, above), or follow me on Twitter to receive notification of all of my articles. If you have questions, comments or suggestions please email me at email@example.com for the timeliest response.