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Mirabilis albida

Higher Taxonomy
Family: NyctaginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, subshrub, [shrub, tree], glabrous or hairy. Stem: often forked. Leaf: opposite, sessile or petioled, pairs generally unequal; blade generally entire. Inflorescence: generally forked; spike, head-like cluster, or umbel, flowers rarely 1, bracts forming a calyx-like involucre or not. Flower: bisexual, generally +- radial (bilateral), sometimes cleistogamous in some genera; perianth of 1 whorl, generally petal-like, bell- to trumpet-shaped, base hardened, tightly surrounding ovary in fruit, lobes 3--5, generally notched to +- lobed; stamens 1--many; ovary superior (appearing inferior due to hardened perianth base), style 1. Fruit: achene in hardened perianth base; round to +- flat; smooth, angled, ribbed, or winged; glabrous, hairy, or glandular.
Genera In Family: 30 genera, 350 species: warm regions, especially America; some ornamental (Bougainvillea; Mirabilis, four o'clock).
eFlora Treatment Author: Andy Murdock, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MirabilisView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: FOUR O'CLOCK
Habit: Perennial herb, subshrub. Stem: repeatedly forked, decumbent to erect. Leaf: generally petioled. Inflorescence: branches ending in umbel-like cluster or solitary flowers; bracts 5(9), +- fused (or not) into calyx-like, bell- to saucer-shaped involucre; flowers in 1 involucre 1--16, generally not blooming together; flowers cleistogamous or not. Flower: radial or +- bilateral; perianth funnel- to bell-shaped, lobes 5; stamens 3--5, generally exserted; stigma +- spheric, generally exserted. Fruit: +- round to club-shaped; ribs or angles 0, 5, 10; wings 0.
Species In Genus: +- 60 species: America, Himalayas. Etymology: (Latin: wonderful) Note: Flowers open in evening, close in morning; species intergrade, taxonomy unsettled.

Mirabilis albida (Walter) Heimerl
Habit: Stem, leaf hairs short to long, glandular or not. Stem: decumbent to erect, 10--50 cm (in California). Leaf: petiole < 4 cm, blade 2--6 cm lanceolate or wider. Inflorescence: axillary involucres generally 1, with cleistogamous flowers; involucre cup-shaped, green or +- purple, hairy, (1)3(5)-flowered, enlarged, < 8 mm, brown, papery in fruit; bracts 5, >= 1/2 fused. Flower: perianth 8--12 mm, broadly funnel-shaped, light pink to magenta. Fruit: 3--5 mm, tapered at both ends; ribs 5, wide, with warts or wrinkles between.
Ecology: Dry, rocky areas; Elevation: 1400--2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnBr, SnJt, W&I, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: North America. Flowering Time: May--Aug Note: Complex including variable, poorly defined, intergrading taxa and many named forms, some of which in California merit further study.
Synonyms: Mirabilis comata (Small) Standl.; Mirabilis oblongifolia (A. Gray) Heimerl; Mirabilis pumila (Standl.) Standl.
Unabridged Note: Mirabilis albida is the oldest name for a more broadly defined sp. that include Mirabilis oblongifolia (A. Gray) Heimerl and Mirabilis pumila (Standl.) Standl. as recognized in TJM (1993) (Spellenberg 2004 FNANM); California plants identified as Mirabilis comata (Small) Standl. probably should be treated as a new taxon, a var. of Mirabilis albida (name not yet published); study needed.
eFlora Treatment Author: Andy Murdock
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botanical illustration including Mirabilis albida


Citation for this treatment: Andy Murdock 2016. Mirabilis albida, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Mirabilis albida
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
click for enlargement
© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
click for enlargement
© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
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© 2010 James M. Andre

More photos of Mirabilis albida in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Mirabilis albida:
SnBr, SnJt, W&I, DMtns;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.