Aug. 17, 2021

wild four-o'clock, Mirabilis nyctaginea

Mirabilis means wonderful, and this species is amazing and interesting. It started traveling with us very quickly, so its original range in the central continent is somewhat obscured. Wild four-o'clock can get head high, with lots of these half-inch flowers. Look for them in mid to late afternoon, when they earn their name. The colorful parts that open then are sepals; there are no petals. The green below the purple are bracts. Indians used this plant for many medical needs, but mostly for upper respiratory treatments. They also occasionally ate the root and smoked the leaves. Wild four-o'clock now grows in AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, AB, BC, MB, ON, QC, and SK. Lenawee Co MI, 6/15/11. Four-o'clock family, Nyctaginaceae.