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Mirabilis longiflora (Sweet four o'clock)
Anderson, Wynn

Mirabilis longiflora

Mirabilis longiflora L.

Sweet Four O'Clock, Long-flowered Four O'Clock

Nyctaginaceae (Four O'clock Family)


USDA Symbol: MILO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This plant grows up to about 5 feet tall. The stem is heavy, brittle, and sticky, with several branches near the base. The leaves are opposite. The lower leaves have stems 1 1/2 inches long; the leaves themselves are 3-4 inches long. The upper leaves have no stem and taper to a sharp point. The branches and the flowers grow out of the leaf axils. The flower stem has many buds, but usually only 2 flowers bloom at the same time on 1 stem. The slender tube of the flower is 4-6 inches long, pinkish with a red throat, spreading into a white blossom 1/2-3/4 inch across at the opening, with 6 stamens extending almost an inch beyond. The flowers bloom near the top of the plant.

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-o'clock (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).


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Accessory
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Flowers white to pinkish with a reddish or purplish throat.


Native Distribution: Southern Arizona east to western Texas and south to Mexico.
Native Habitat: Brushy canyons and banks.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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