Mirabilis longiflora

Sweet Four O’clock - Mirabilis longiflora
Bloodgood Spring
Black Range near Kingston
New Mexico, USA 

I photographed this Sweet Four O'Clock, Mirabilis longiflora, on a recent walk to Bloodgood Spring.  It is also known as Longtube Four O'Clock and Maravilla (Spanish).  It is most common in desert riparian areas.   

The flowers of this species typically open late in the afternoon and as a night blooming plant attracts large hummingbird moths.  The seeds of this species are poisonous.

Some authorities will separate out the plant that we have here as a distinct subspecies, M. l. wrightiana.  The range of the Sweet Four O'Clock is restricted to central Mexico and the southwestern United States (if you are inclined to recognize the existence of subspecies in this plant then the nominate form is found in central Mexico and M. l. wrightiana is found farther north).  The range within the United States is restricted to southwestern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, and the Big Bend region of Texas.

M. l. wrightiana was noted as M. wrightiana in 1894, in the Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences - see the opening paragraph of the article by Britton and Kearney (above) as well as their initial comments on the specimen.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2020