Scarlet beeblossom or scarlet gaura is a 1-2 ft., colongy-forming perennial with several stems, branched near base. The stems and narrowly oblong leaves may or may not be covered with gray hairs. Honeysuckle-like flowers occur on a spike-like inflorescence, 1-12 in. long, which blooms from the bottom to top. The leafy stems of this grayish plant are branched, grow in clumps, and bear at the tips reddish-pink, nodding racemes. Only one ring of the flowers are in bloom at a time. The fragrant flowers are white at first, fading to pink and finally scarlet, all in the same day. The whiteness of the newly opened flowers attracts night-flying moths, the primary pollinators of these plants. By early the next day the flowers are pink, the color intensifying throughout the morning. The flower remains open less than a day.
The genus Gaura is composed of rather weedy plants, with leaves borne singly on the stems and frequently in a basal rosette. The flowers are in spikes or racemes, or are branching. They open in the evening. The 4 petals are on the upper side of the flower, giving it a slightly bilateral symmetry. There are normally 8 prominent stamens and 1 pistil; these are on the lower side. The stamens have reddish-brown anthers. The genus is easily recognized, but the species are sometimes difficult, due partly to a great deal of hybridization.
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