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Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.) MacMill.
Heartleaf Four O'Clock
Nyctaginaceae (Four O'clock Family)
Synonym(s): Allionia nyctaginea, Mirabilis collina, Oxybaphus nyctagineus
USDA Symbol: miny
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Stems usually erect or ascending, occasionally decumbent, up to about 5 feet long.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Pink to reddish purple, rarely white.
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Mirabilis nyctaginea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mirabilis nyctaginea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mirabilis nyctaginea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-20
Research By: DEW, JSC, MAC