[Wikipedia] Description: Description
Fruit and bud.
It is a perennial, herbaceous, bushy plant that reaches stature heights of mostly 1 meter, rarely up to 2 meters, in height. It may also be grown as an annual, especially in the temperate zone. The single-seeded fruits are spherical, wrinkled and black upon maturity, having started out greenish-yellow. The stems are thick, full, quadrangular with many ramifications and rooting at the nodes. The posture is often prostrate.
A curious aspect of M. jalapa is that flowers with different colors grow simultaneously on the same plant. Additionally, an individual flower can be splashed with different colors. Flower patterns are referred to as sectors (whole sections of flower), flakes (stripes of varying length), and spots. A single flower can be plain yellow, red, magenta, pink, or white, or have a combination of sectors, flakes, and spots. Furthermore, different combinations of flowers and patterns can occur on different flowers of the same plant.
Usually, the flowers are yellow, pink and white, but a different combination of flowers growing on the same single four o?clock plant can be found. Another interesting point is a color-changing phenomenon. For example, in the yellow variety, as the plant matures, it can display flowers that gradually change to a dark pink colour. Similarly, white flowers can change to light violet. Despite their appearance, the flowers are not formed from petals ? rather they are a pigmented modification of the calyx. Similarly, the 'calyx' is an involucre of bracts. The flowers are funnel-shaped and pentalobed, they have no cup (replaced by bracteal leaves) but are made of a corolla.
The inflorescences contain three to seven unpopped flowers. Earning the name "four o'clock flower", the fragrant flowers open in the late afternoon or early evening, and also in overcast weather, and exhale a scent reminiscent of the tobacco flower, and attract moths for pollination. The anthesis lasts from 16 to 20 hours and thus remains visible part of the day. The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued moths of the family Sphingidae, such as the sphinx moths or hawk moths and other nocturnal pollinators attracted by the fragrance. (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)
[Wikipedia] Distribution, Habitat, Native to North, Central, South America: Distribution and habitat
Mirabilis jalapa is native to the dry tropical regions of North, Central and South America: Mexico, Guatemala, Chile and Peru. This plant has been introduced for ornamental purposes and has become naturalized throughout tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world. It is currently present in many countries in Asia, Africa, United States, Middle East and Europe. In Réunion, Mirabilis jalapa was initially an ornamental species; however it became naturalized on the west coast, between 400 and 700 m altitude, and on the south coast between 0 and 700 m. It occurs in a ruderal debris area, and is relatively common in weedy sugarcane fields on the west and south coasts. Its high seed production and rapid growth allow it to cover up to 30% to 50% in cane plots. In cooler subtropical and temperate regions, it will die back with the first frosts or as the weather starts to cool down (especially after it fully matures and finished self-seeding), regrowing in the following spring from the tuberous roots. (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)