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Mirabilis nyctaginea (Heartleaf four o'clock)
Smith, R.W.

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-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

11 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Accessory
Size Notes: Stems usually erect or ascending, occasionally decumbent, up to about 5 feet long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Pink to reddish purple, rarely white.


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.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-20
Research By: DEW, JSC, MAC

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