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Bigelow's Four O'Clock
Desert Wishbone Bush

Mirabilis bigelovii
Mirabilis laevis var. villosa

Watercolor © by Michael Plagens

PERENNIAL HERB: Mostly herbaceous, but the crown and some small portions are definately woody. Above ground stems are weak and tend to climb upon other shrubs almost vine-like.

LEAVES: Heart-shaped, opposite leaves are quite sticky due to abundant glandular hairs.

RANGE: Fairly common on rocky slopes and beneath desert trees in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Sonora. Leaf and flower size/color variable.

FLOWERS: Five or so flowers grouped together and arrayed in a radial pattern appear as a single flower. Corollas are white or pink. Flowering mostly mid to late spring and then again to a lesser extent in late summer and autumn.

FRUIT: A dry capsule with many seeds.


The Five-lined Sphinx -- Hyles lineata moth is often associated with four o'clocks. The adult moth takes nectar from the tubular flowers and the caterpillars are often found eating the leaves.

Nyctaginaceae -- Four O'Clock Family

Chenopodaceae -- Goosefoot Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009