Wild Four O’Clock, Heartleaf Four O’Clock, Nightblooming Four O’Clock, Wild Umbrellawort
Synonyms of Mirabilis nyctaginea (14) (Updated on 5-17-21 from Plants of the World Online): Allionia nyctaginea Michx., Calymenia granulata Raf., Calymenia nyctaginea (Michx.) Nutt., Mirabilis nyctaginea var. alpicola Heimerl, Mirabilis nyctaginea var. conjungens Heimerl, Mirabilis nyctaginea var. eunyctaginea Heimerl, Mirabilis nyctaginea var. hirsuta Heimerl, Mirabilis nyctaginea var. pilosa Heimerl, Mirabilis nyctaginea var. setigera Heimerl, Oxybaphus cervantesii var. grandifolius Choisy, Oxybaphus cervantesii var. minor Choisy, Oxybaphus cucullatus (Fisch., C.A.Mey. & Avé-Lall.) Choisy, Oxybaphus nyctagineus (Michx.) Sweet, Oxybaphus nyctagineus var. cervantesii A.Gray
Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.) MacMill. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Wild Four O’Clock. It was named and described as such by Conway MacMillan in The Metaspermae of the Minnesota Valley in 1892. It was first named Allionia nyctaginea by André Michaux in Flora Boreali-Americana in 1803.
The genus, Mirabilis Riv. ex L., was described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. Plants of the World Online lists the genus name as Mirabilis Riv. ex L. indicating the genus was named by Augustus Quirinus Rivinus who Linnaeus was supposed to have mentioned in his description. The link to IPNI (International Plant Names Index) just says Mirabilis L., but at the bottom gives a link to Mirabilis Riv. ex L.. I read the Mirabilis description by Linnaeus (through a link to Biodiversity Heritage Library) and I didn’t see any reference to Mr. Rivinus (Riv.)… You can read for yourself by clicking HERE (page 177). Other databases list the genus name as Mirabilis L..
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 55 species in the Mirabilis genus (as of 5-17-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plan family Nyctaginaceae with 32 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made by POWO.
The above distribution may for Mirabilis nyctaginea is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database is similar but doesn’t include a couple of states.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
The first Mirabilis nyctaginea I found was on my farm on May 20 in 2017 (photo at the top of the page). I must have not been paying much attention because I thought it was a species of Milkweed. While it was right next to Milkweed, the flowers were on an entirely different plant. When I uploaded photos on iNaturalist, I had it listed as an Asclepias purpurea. When a member pointed out it was a Mirabilis nyctaginea, whose common name is Wild Four O’Clock, I thought he was nuts! I took a closer look at the photo and noticed I had been mistaken and he was correct. Honestly, I hadn’t uploaded the photo until 2020 AFTER I had found, photographed, and uploaded photos of the colony I had found at a friend’s farm in Benton County. I was working on wildflower pages and was getting to write a page for Asclepias purpurea when I noticed I hadn’t gotten clarification on the species. It was a good thing I didn’t go ahead and write the page… Strange, I have not seen any of these plants where I took the first photo in 2017.
I apologize for not writing descriptions for the Mirabilis nyctaginea, but I have A LOT of wildflower pages to make and publish before I start getting too busy during the summer. I update this site and add new pages over the winter but I didn’t get finished. SO, I decided to just make the page with photos and links to other sites for better plant ID. I will be taking more photos over the summer and posting but I will also be working on these pages as I have time. I took most of the wildflower photos in 2020 and here it is April 15 in 2021 when I wrote this page… Yeah, I am a little behind, but I am a work in progress.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS-
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF(PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
CONNECTICUT BOTANICAL SOCIETY
WASHINGTON STATE NOXIOUS WEED CONTROL BOARD
INVASIVE PLANT ATLAS
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂