Genus of the Week
Week of March 29 - April 4
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
Number of Species: about 60
Root: "Mirabilis" means "Wonderful" in Latin.
Plants in the genus Mirabilis have very interesting flowering structures. Each individual
flower or cluster of flowers is surrounded by a whorl of bracts termed an involucre. These
bracts, which resemble sepals, have apparently evolved from flowers originally found in
clusters of three, where only one flower would develop to maturity. Several species in this
genus have flowers which open during the late afternoon, which is why they have the common
name, "Four O'Clock".
Here are some links to images and information for the genus Mirabilis:
- Read more about
M. jalapa (Four O'Clock) in the Time/Life Plant Encyclopedia, and see a nice drawing too.
- The Catalina Island Conservancy web site has 2 great photos of
M. laevis in flower.
- Take a look at
M. macfarlanei, a very rare flower in Oregon.
- The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center has imformation and a photo for
nyctaginea. They also have a page for
M. hirsuta and
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
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