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NYCTAGINACEAE

FOUR O'CLOCK FAMILY

Richard Spellenberg

Perennial, shrub, tree, glabrous or hairy
Stem often forked
Leaves opposite, sessile or petioled, pairs generally unequal; blade generally entire
Inflorescence generally forked; of spikes, clusters, or umbels, each unit sometimes with a calyx-like involucre
Flower bisexual, radial; perianth of 1 whorl, petal-like, bell- to trumpet-shaped, base hardened, tightly surrounding ovary in fruit, lobes 4–5, generally notched to ± bilateral; stamens 1–many; ovary superior (appearing inferior because of hardened perianth base), style 1
Fruit: achene or nut, smooth, wrinkled, or ribbed
Genera in family: 30 genera, 300 species: warm regions, especially Am; some ornamental (Bougainvillea ; Mirabilis , four o'clock).

MIRABILIS

FOUR O'CLOCK

Perennial, subshrub
Stem repeatedly forked, decumbent to erect
Leaf generally petioled
Inflorescence forked; calyx-like involucres densely clustered or solitary in axils, bell- to saucer-shaped; flowers 1–16 per involucre, blooming sequentially
Flower: perianth funnel- to bell-shaped, lobes 5; stamens 3–5, generally exserted; stigma ± spheric, generally exserted
Fruit ± round to club-shaped, smooth to 5-ribbed; wing 0
Species in genus: ± 60 species: Am, Himalayas
Etymology: (Latin: wonderful)
Fls open in evening, close in morning. Spp. intergrade; Hermidium , Oxybaphus sometimes segregated, but intergrade with other species; careful study needed. [Pilz 1978 Madroño 25:113–132]

Native

M. californica A. Gray

WISHBONE BUSH


Stem trailing to ascending, < 8 dm, somewhat woody, aging grayish, scabrous or ± glandular-hairy
Leaf: blade 1–3.5 cm, ovate, puberulent or glandular-hairy
Inflorescence: involucres clustered near ends of branches, bell-shaped; bracts 5, 5–8 mm, > 1/2 fused, lobes ovate; flower 1 per involucre
Flower: perianth 5–14 mm, broadly funnel-shaped, pink to purple-red (white)
Fruit ± 5 mm, ovoid, generally lightly dotted or wrinkled, glabrous
Ecology: Common. Grassy areas, chaparral, dunes, dry rocky areas and washes
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast, South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, w edge Desert
Distribution outside California: Baja California
Flowering time: Mostly Dec–Jun
Synonyms: M. laevis (Benth.) Curran var. laevis misapplied; var. cedrosensis (Standl.) J.F. Macbr
Poorly distinguished morphologically and geographically from M. bigelovii; these may prove to be infraspecific entities in a moree broadly conceived species
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY, SUN: 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
Recent taxonomic note: Mirabilis laevis (Benth.) Curran var. crassifolia (Choisy) Spellenb.

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