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These four o'clocks are perennial plants that die back to their roots each year. They form large clumps from multiple stems, are 1-3 feet tall and as broad or broader. The dark green leaves are opposite and are round to egg-shaped -- at times they appear heart-shaped -- with short petioles. The leaves and stems may be either smooth or have sticky hairs. The leaves vary from 3/4-7 inches long and are often pointed at the tip. The funnel-shaped flowers protrude from a papery floral cup which is made up of greenish bracts (modified leaves) that resemble floral sepals. The flowers are magenta in color and are 1- 3 inches long and about 1 inch across. Four o'clocks do not have petals, rather they have colorful sepals which are petal-like in appearance and fused together into a funnel-shaped flower.


Habitat yard on Lake Belton.


Native Americans used mirabilis multiflora for dyes or medicinal properties, both in prehistoric times and modern day. The Navajos boiled the flowers to make a light brown or purple color for dying wool. The Hopis used the roots of older plants to make a blood-strengthening tea for pregnant women. Teas were also made to treat colic, eye infections, muscle soreness, body swellings, rheumatism and indigestion. The Acoma and Laguna pueblo tribes dried the leaves for smoking material, and some say the plant has a sedative property.

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1 Comment

crkesterson 8 years ago

Is this a plant easy to control or does it spread in a bad way?

Spotted by

Texas, USA

Spotted on Oct 7, 2012
Submitted on Oct 9, 2012

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