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Mirabilis nyctaginea (Heartleaf four o'clock) | NPIN

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Mirabilis nyctaginea (Heartleaf four o'clock)
Hixson, John

Mirabilis nyctaginea

Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.) MacMill.

Heartleaf four o'clock

Nyctaginaceae (Four-O'clock Family)

Synonym(s): Allionia nyctaginea, Mirabilis collina, Oxybaphus nyctagineus


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Mirabilis, in Latin, and Maravilla, in Spanish, both mean marvelous, which the flowers certainly are. They open in the shade of the late afternoon. This lovely native species is a close relative of Common Four-oclock (M. jalapa), a plant originally from Mexico, popular in gardens since the Aztecs, and now commonly escaping into the wild; it has purple, yellow, or sometimes white or variegated flowers generally not longer than 2 1/2 (6.5 cm).


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AR , CA , CO , CT , DC , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: ON , SK
Native Habitat: Weedy places, in dry soils, limestone gravels, sandy Post Oak Belt and west Cross Timbers; MT to WI south to TN, CO, AL, TX, and Mexico; also introduced in CA and east US.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Conditions Comments: Flowers open late in the afternoon and drop off early the next morning. The flowers are pollinated at night by insects. The bracts become rose colored with age and are frequently mistaken as flowers. Easy to grow from seed and freely self sows. Plant in well drained soil. Drought tolerant but can also accept summer water.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store


* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

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Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Mirabilis nyctaginea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mirabilis nyctaginea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mirabilis nyctaginea


Record Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: DEW, JSC, MAC

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