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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.
Reference: Spellenberg 2003 FNANM 4:40--57

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
Reference: Spellenberg 2003 FNANM 4:40--57
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botanical illustration including Mirabilis albida


Citation for this treatment: Andy Murdock 2012, Mirabilis albida, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 19, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 19, 2018.

Mirabilis albida
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
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© 2010 James M. Andre
Mirabilis albida
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Mirabilis albida
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Mirabilis albida
click for enlargement
© 2015 Barry Breckling
Mirabilis albida
click for enlargement
© 2015 Barry Breckling

More photos of Mirabilis albida in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Mirabilis albida:
SnBr, SnJt, W&I, DMtns;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
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, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.