New Mexico Wildflowers: Four O'Clock Family

(Nyctaginaceae)

 

Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.


Snowball Sand Verbena (Abronia fragrans)

My June 2019 photos show the individual flowers before they uncurl into trumpet-shaped blossoms. Based on other online photos, people often encounter the flower clusters in the uncurled state. It wasn't until three months later that I found the fully uncurled flowers. Abronia elliptica is very similar and I can't guarantee that my species identification is correct.

 

Windmills, Trailing Four O'Clock (Allionia)

The two species of Allionia in New Mexico are impossible to distinguish during casual encounters. The inflorescence looks like a single flower with three petals, but it's a triple flower.

 

Scarlet Spiderling (Boerhavia coccinea)

My reasons for classifying these plants as Scarlet Spiderling, as opposed to the similar Red Spiderling (Boerhavia diffusa) include the sticky stems below the flowers and the leaves with reddish edges. Neither species is supposed to be present in Albuquerque but as the planet warms, species are shifting their ranges.

 

Creeping Spiderling (Boerhavia torreyana)

 

White Four O'Clock (Mirabilis albida)

Apparently the flowers can be white, hence the common name.

 

Narrow-Leaf Four O'Clock (Mirabilis linearis)

Note the long, very narrow leaves that grow in opposite pairs. The flowers can be light pink rather than purple. Sets of three flowers sit in five-part green involucres (vaguely flower-like cups), which can be purple-tinged.

 

In June 2021 I encountered narrow-leaf four o'clock growing in an empty lot in Albuquerque, somewhat out of place (around here it's usually found in the mountains). The flowers on these plants had already come and gone, each replaced by a small fruit (if pollination succeeded).

 

Mountain Four O'Clock (Mirabilis oblongifolia)