WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Slender, open-branching flower stalks with clusters of 3 purplish-red to pink or white flowers, bloom along an 8–40-inch tall stem. Note the narrow linear leaves are mostly less than 3/8-inch wide (1 cm).


FLOWERS: June–September. Clusters of 3 flowers mostly at stem tips of spreading, hairy to hairless stalks. The 1/2-inch wide (12 mm) flowers are funnel-shaped, less than 3/8-inch long (1 cm), and may be deep-red, pink, or white; stamens long, showy, tipped with yellow anthers. Each of the 5 united petal-like sepals have deeply cut lobes with 2 rounded notches. Tiny, egg-shaped seeds with 5 ribs are in the center of a hairy, tan, flat, star-shaped, papery disk of united bracts; the surface between the ribs is wrinkled or bumpy, hairy (use lens).


LEAVES: Opposite, spreading horizontal or angling upward, stalkless (sessile) or on short stalks (petioles). Blades variable in shape, linear to narrowly lance-shaped, 1 1/2–4 3/4-inches long (4–12 cm), most less than 3/8-inch wide (1 cm), surfaces with or without hair, margins entire.


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky, clay soils, roadsides, disturbed areas; desert scrub, foothills, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa, spruce-fir forests.


ELEVATION: 4,000–10,000 feet.


RANGE: Widespread west of the Mississippi River.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 3 varieties in NM with slight variations in stem and leaf hair and flower color. Velvet Umbrellawort, M. albida, nearly statewide, has linear to oval leaves mostly greater than 3/8-inch (1 cm) wide and hairy seeds (use lens). The look-alike Umbrellawort, M. glabra, scattered statewide, has stems and seeds without hair. Spreading Four-O’Clock, M. oxybaphoides, statewide except se plains, has heart-shaped leaves, sprawling stems and smooth to weakly ribbed fruit. Mountain Four-O’Clock, M. melanoytrcha, in no. and so. mountains of NM, has erect stems with tapering-triangular leaves and purplish, hairy bracts beneath the petals.


NM COUNTIES: Statewide in low- to high-elevation, dry habitats.

NARROW-LEAF  FOUR-O’CLOCK

MIRABILIS  LINEARIS

Four-O’Clock Family, Nyctaginaceae

Perennial herb

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Three seeds in hairy, papery disk (lower arrow).

Seeds have 5 ribs and warty surface (use lens) (upper arrow).

Leaves opposite, linear, and less than 3/8-inch wide (1 cm).

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