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4 0 Clock Flowersor

4 0 Clock Flowersor

4 0 Clock Flowers

Four o'clock plants (Mirabilis jalapa) are bushy blooming perennials. These tuberous-rooted plants produce slightly pointed oval leaves on branching stems. They get their common name because of the way they bloom. The flowers open in the late afternoon, typically around 4 p.m. or so, and then remain open until the next morning. The approximately 2-inch-long blooms are trumpet-shaped with five petals, and they come in several colors, often shades of pink and red. Some four o’clock plants produce flowers in multiple colors, sometimes with marbling or other markings. This is a fast-growing plant that often sprawls in the garden. It’s best planted in the spring.

Flower

Four o’clocks readily bloom each year starting around June and stretching all the way to frost in the fall. The tubular flowers have a lemony-sweet fragrance. Because four o’clocks bloom so profusely, keeping them deadheaded (removing spent blooms) is all but impossible, which is fine because they don’t really need it to keep blooming. Providing sufficient light is typically the best way to get the most blooms out of your plant year after year.The common name of four o’clocks was given to Mirabilis jalapa because the flowers of this plant do not open until late in the day. This old-fashioned garden ornamental in the four-o’clock family (Nyctaginaceae) is a tender perennial hardy in Zones 7-10, generally grown as an annual throughout most of the US. Native to tropical South America in the Andes – and also sometimes called Marvel of Peru – it is the most commonly grown ornamental species of Mirabilis. Discovered by Europeans in 1540, the root was used by indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes, as a hallucinogen, and as a purported aphrodisiac, while the flowers produce an edible red dye for coloring food.

They bloom in summer through fall and may have a strong, sweet-smelling fragrance when open (but sometimes have no noticeable scent). Flowers are borne in terminal or axillary clusters of one to several flowers. The colorful, trumpet-shaped portion of the flower is the pigmented calyx or partially fused sepals; the flowers actually have no petals. Each flower is about two inches long and abruptly flares out to about an inch across at the end with five lobes. These tubular flowers open late in the day or in the evening (although they will open earlier open earlier on rainy or very cloudy afternoons) as they are pollinated by sphinx moths (family Sphingidae) and other nocturnal pollinators with long tongues. Hummingbirds and butterflies are also attracted to the flowers.four-o’clock, also called marvel-of-Peru, or beauty-of-the-night, (Mirabilis jalapa) ornamental perennial plant, of the family Nyctaginaceae, native to tropical America. Four-o’clock is a quick-growing species up to one metre (three feet) tall, with oval leaves on short leafstalks. The stems are swollen at the joints. The plant is called four-o’clock because its flowers, from white and yellow to shades of pink and red, sometimes streaked and mottled, open in late afternoon (and close by morning). There are 45 species in the Mirabilis genus of herbs. (Source: www.britannica.com)

 

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