Nyctaginaceae - four-o'clock family

Gerald A. Mulligan
Research Scientist and Research Institute Director (retired) and presently Honorary Research Associate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6, Canada

Awarded the George Lawson Medal by the Canadian Botanical Association in 2006.
Awarded the Faculty of Macdonald, McGill University, Most Distinguished Alumni Award on October 18, 2014.
Read his biography "The Real Weed Man" available in print and ebook.

Mirabilis nyctagenea (Michx.) MacMill.,wild four-o'clock, nyctage parasol
A herbaceous perennial 2 to 4 feet (6 to 12 dm.) tall with heart-shaped leaves and a thick fleshy to woody taproot. Flowers lack petals, but have calyxes that are a pale pink to a deep magenta. Flowers typically open in late afternoon and close before noon the next day. This probably targets specific types of pollinators. Wild four-o'clock is both native and introduced in extreme south-central Canada and the central United States. It also occurs, often sporadically, as an introduction east and west to all except the most south-eastern States. It is present in orchards, alfalfa fields, woodlands, pastures, dry meadows, rangelands, and along roadsides and railroad lines. It can be invasive.

Click on a photo to view an enlarged image.
Weed Name Photo Weed Name Photo
wild four-o'clock, nyctage parasol wild four-o'clock, nyctage parasol
wild four-o'clock, nyctage parasol
(in fruit)
wild four-o'clock, nyctage parasol
(petals absent, sepals coloured)
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