Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.) Mac M.

Wild Four-O'Clock

Mirabilis nyctaginea plant

Family - Nyctaginaceae

Stems - To 1m tall, erect to ascending, dichotomously branching, multiple from the base, glabrous or with some minute pubescence at the nodes, often glaucous, 4-angled (the angles rounded), often reddish at the nodes.

Mirabilis nyctaginea stem

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate. Blades truncate to subtruncate at the base, acute at the apex, ovate to lanceolate, typically glabrous but with a few hairs near the petiole, to +10cm long, +7cm broad. Margins with some cilia or a few strigose hairs.

Inflorescence - Terminal cymose clusters of multiple flowers. Pedicels and branches of the cyme with dense antrorse pubescence. Pedicels to +1.5cm long.

Mirabilis nyctaginea inflorescence

Flowers - No info. yet.

Mirabilis nyctaginea flowerFlower close-up.

Mirabilis nyctaginea fruitDeveloping fruits.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Open ground, prairies, waste ground, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This showy yet weedy species can be found throughout Missouri. The flowers of this species typically open for about one or two hours per day and then close and drop. The plant is most often seen with closed flowers or, more commonly, in fruit. Despite the short flowering time, this is the most showy species of the genus in Missouri.
Traditionally the plant (root tea) was used to treat fevers and to expel internal parasites. A poultice was applied externally to burns, sores, and swelling. The plant is considered to be toxic and should not be ingested.

Photographs taken in Marquette, MI., 9-10-03.