Wild four-o’clock Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.) MacM.
Family: Nyctagineaceae (Four-o’clock family)
Life cycle: Perennial, reproducing by seed and taproot
Habitat: Pastures, prairies, crop fields, waste areas
Native status: Native to North America
General description: Erect plant reaching heights of 4 ft. Stems are smooth with swollen nodes, branched. Leaves are opposite, smooth, entire margins, ovate to lanceolate, up to 4 in long and 3 in wide. Lower leaves petiolate; upper leaves commonly sessile. Clusters of 3 to 5 pinkish flowers (< 1/2 in) form in upper leaf axils, surrounded by a green bract with 5 lobes.
Key ID traits: Opposite leaves; smooth stems and leaves; green bract surrounding flower clusters.
Similar species: Cultivated four o’clock species are from South America, whereas wild four ‘o clock is native.
Miscellaneous: The flowers of wild four o’clock do not have petals, but the tubular structure is made up of the calyx. The flowers generally open late in the day and close in the morning.