Mirabilis multiflora

Wild Four O'Clock - Mirabilis multiflora
Sawyers Peak Trail
Black Range
New Mexico, USA

Wild Four O'clock, Mirabilis multiflora, is one of the more dramatic flowering plants in the Black Range.  It is also known as Colorado Four O'clock.  The mass of beautiful flowers pictured here announced itself in late August along the Sawyers Peak Trail. The subspecies found here is the nominate form, there are two other subspecies.  It is found in a wide range of elevation, 300' to almost 8,000' (and given where we found it, a bit higher).

The Wild Four O'clock ranges from California to Colorado, south to northern Mexico, and portions of Texas.  This subspecies has a much more limited range (US range shown here - from Flora of North America).  The Zuni people ground the roots of this species into flour.

It was originally described by Torrey in 1827 as Oxybaphus multiflorus.  See Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York, Vol. 2, pp 161 - 254.   "Some Account of a Collection of Plants Made During a Journey to and from the Rocky Mountains in the Summer of 1820, by Edwin P. James, M.D. Assistant Surgeon U.S. Army" by John Torrey.  The specific account, below, found at pp. 237-238.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023