Only In The Afternoon

This has to be one of the wild plants that produces the most colourful and attractive flower so much that some people use them to bring colour to their front garden.  The most common colour is purple but the range is large: yellow, red, white, pink and a mixture of all those.  In truth it isn't just the colour that attracts people; the Four O'Clock plant grows into a lush bush of green and, best of all, it requires very little maintenance.  No wonder its popularity.

The plant itself is extremely easy to propagate as it produces a rather large black seed once a bloom dies.  As children we used to delight in picking these seeds up but that is, I fear, another pastime whose time has passed.  At least there are still a number of specimen to be found in the while, particularly at the side of roads.

There are a number of curiosities around this plan.  It's common name, for instance, is down to the plant's habit of opening flowers in the afternoon.  Then there is the fact that the plant originated in South America before being exported from the Peruvian Andes around 1540.  But perhaps the biggest curiosity is around how it displays its getting older.

This is through its flowers that change colours the older the plant gets which is, perhaps, another reason to want to own at least one specimen of this plant.

Botanical Name: Mirabilis Jalapa L
Common name: Marvel of Peru / Four o'Clock Plant (English) Hummejr (Maltese)

Family:  Nyctaginaceae (Four o'Clock family)


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