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Genus of the Week

Week of March 29 - April 4

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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:


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Caryophyllidae
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Nyctaginaceae
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:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.

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