Gaura parviflora

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Gaura parviflora
Oenothera curtiflora BB-1913.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Gaura
Species: G. parviflora
Binomial name
Gaura parviflora
Dougl. ex Lehm.

Gaura parviflora (syn. G. mollis James; velvetweed, velvety gaura, downy gaura, or smallflower gaura) is a species of Gaura native to the central United States and northern Mexico, from Nebraska and Wyoming south to Durango and Nuevo Leon.[1]

It is an annual plant growing to 0.2–2 m (rarely 3 m) tall, unbranched, or if branched, only below the flower spikes. The leaves are 2–20 centimetres (0.79–7.87 in) long, lance-shaped, and are covered with soft hair. The flower spikes are 20–30 centimetres (7.9–11.8 in) long, covered with green flower buds, which open at night or before dawn with small flowers 5 millimetres (0.20 in) diameter with four pink petals.[2][3][4]


The species remains widely known as Gaura parviflora, this name being published in 1832 and for a long time considered the correct name for the species. However, an overlooked but validly published name G. mollis had been published earlier by Thomas Potts James in 1825. A proposal was made to conserve the name G. parviflora over G. mollis,[5] and this was accepted by the International Botanical Congress Committee for Spermatophyta, so G. parviflora remains the correct name.[6] Despite this, the rejected name G. mollis appears in some major sources.[7]


Among the Zuni people, fresh or dried root would be chewed by medicine man before sucking snakebite and poultice applied to wound.[8]

Weed status[edit]

It is naturalized and often invasive in other parts of the United States, and in Australia, China, Japan, and South America.[7][9][10]


  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Gaura parviflora
  2. ^ Jepson Flora: Gaura parviflora
  3. ^ Southwest Environmental Information Network: Gaura mollis[dead link]
  4. ^ Wildflowers of Tucson: Gaura mollis
  5. ^ Wagner, W. L., & Hoch, P. (2000). Proposal to Reject the Name Gaura mollis (Onagraceae). Taxon 49 (1): 101-102.
  6. ^ Brummitt, R. K. (2001). Report of the Committee for Spermatophyta: 52. Taxon 50 (4): 1179-1182.
  7. ^ a b USDA Plant Profile: Gaura mollis
  8. ^ Camazine, Scott and Robert A. Bye 1980 A Study Of The Medical Ethnobotany Of The Zuni Indians of New Mexico. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2:365-388 (p. 377)
  9. ^ Flora of China: Gaura parviflora
  10. ^ PlantNet (Australia): Gaura parviflora