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Perennials/Dusk blooming flower

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Question
Hello,  Three years ago I was given a few small plants that were called Midnight Cowboys. The leaves
were low growing to the ground and resembled dandilion leaves but much thinner. The flower had 2 to 3 approx. 5 inch thin stems with small buds.  In the evening the buds would open, unravel and produce white flowers. I can't recall how many petals, but I'm thinking it might have been a single flower, but can't swear to it.
Anyway, they did great and multiplied, but this year, not even one came back. I have tried searching for them on the web but have not been able to find anything similiar. Do you have any idea what they could be?
Thanking you in advance,
Brenda

Answer
Hi Brenda,
Thank you for your question.

What you describe sounds like Oenothera pallida or the White Evening Primrose.  Midnight Cowboy may be a cultivar/hybrid, but plants often go by a variety of names/folk names across the country.  This plant has serrated leaves that bear a resemblance to dandelions.  You can google this and look at more pics.  The seed are easy to come by and easy to start.  Oenothera can and often will disappear after blooming for many seasons.  I have had the yellow and pink in my back yard and they both just disappeared after blooming regularly for several years.  
I hope this helps.
Tom

http://www.perennials.com/plants/oenothera-pallida.html

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Tom Alonzo

Expertise

I have been a gardener for 20 years with perennials both growing from seed and from nurseries. I went through the Master Gardener Program from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service and I answered questions on the Hotline a few years ago for the Wyandotte County Kansas Extension Service. I have also lived in the Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Missouri and am experienced with a variety of climates, soils and weather conditions.

Experience

I have been growing perennials for over 20 years now. I am self-taught mostly except for a master gardener class. I have experimented with all kinds of perennials including many that are not common to my area. I have read hundreds of books and grown hundreds of varieties of plants and hope to make it a business some day. I have become versed in botanical names and growing conditions and what I don't know off of the top of my head I can usually easily find in my vast array of research material and botanical and horticultural contacts. I especially enjoy experimenting with growing plants out of zone.

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