narrow-leaved four o’clock

(Mirabilis linearis)

Conservation Status

 

No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNA - Not applicable

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Narrow-leaved four o’clock occurs across the United States, in northern and central Mexico, and in southern Canada. It is most common in the Great Plains states. It is uncommon in Minnesota, found in just a few scattered locations.

Narrow-leaved four o’clock is an erect, perennial herb that rises from a thick, dark, fleshy or woody taproot.

The stems are usually hairless or nearly hairless below the inflorescence, and covered with a whitish, waxy coating. They are usually erect or curve upward from the base, occasionally they recline on the ground with the tips ascending.

The leaves are opposite, untoothed, long and narrow, 1 to 4½ long and rarely as much as wide, straight, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass. They narrow to a stalk-like base but are attached to the stem without a differentiated leaf stalk. They are spreading or strongly ascending at a 5° to 80° angle. The upper surface is green to blue-gray and covered with a whitish, waxy coating. They are thick, juicy, and fleshy, and become wrinkled when they age.

The inflorescence is single branched clusters at the end of each stem branch and in the leaf axils. The clusters appear at the end of to ½ long hairy stalks. The clusters have 3 flowers each and are themselves hairy.

The flowers are ¼ to ½ wide. They have little or no fragrance. There are 5 pale pink to purple petal-like sepals. The sepals are fused at the base forming a tube, then flare outward. There are 5 hairy bracts, to ¼ long, at the base of the flower that are fused into a pale green, sometimes tinged with purple, narrowly to widely bell-shaped cup. The flowers open in the late afternoon, giving this plant its common name, remain open all night, and close in the morning.

The fruit is a one-seeded achene. It is subtended by the persistent, bell-shaped fused bracts that have increased in size as the fruit developed, becoming to ½ long.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

1 to 3½

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Pale pink to purple

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Narrow-leaved four o’clock is distinguished from other Mirabilis species in Minnesota be the narrow leaves less than wide.

Hairy four o’clock (Mirabilis albida) has a hairy stem. The leaves are on short leaf stalks, are hairy, narrow and lance-shaped. There are no flower clusters at the end of the stems.

Heart-leaved four o’clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea) has broad, egg-shaped to round lance-shaped leaves, and small flowers with much shorter tubes.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Prairies, railroad tracks, disturbed areas.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to August

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  9/4/2013      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  
 

Order

Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  
 

Family

Nyctaginaceae (four o’clock)  
  Tribe Nyctagineae  
  Genus Mirabilis (umbrellawort)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Allionia decumbens

Allionia gausapoides

Allionia linearis

Calymenia decumbens

Mirabilis decumbens

Mirabilis diffusa

Mirabilis gausapoides

Mirabilis albida var. linearis

Mirabilis lanceolata

Mirabilis linearis var. subhispida

Oxybaphus angustifolius

Oxybaphus decumbens

Oxybaphus diffusus

Oxybaphus gausapoides

Oxybaphus lanceolatus

Oxybaphus linearis

Oxybaphus linearis var. subhispidus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

linearleaf four-o’clock

narrow-leaf four-o’clock

narrowleaf four o’clock

narrowleaf four-o’clock

narrow-leaved umbrella-wort

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Bracts

Modified leaves at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 
 
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