Mirabilis multiflora

Botanical Name : Mirabilis multiflora
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Genus: Mirabilis
Species: M. multiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common names : Showy Four o’clock , Mirabilis multiflora, (mee-rah-bi-lis mul-te-flora). Mirabilis is from Latin meaning “marvelous” or “wonderful,” a reference to the beauty of this plant. Multiflora means “many-flowered” in reference to the numerous flowers that can cloak the plants.   Colorado four o’clock

Habitat ;Mirabilis multiflora is native to the southwestern United States from California to Colorado and Texas, as well as far northern Mexico, where it grows in mostly dry habitat types in a number of regions. Habitat ;Mirabilis multiflora is native to the southwestern United States from California to Colorado and Texas, as well as far northern Mexico, where it grows in mostly dry habitat types in a number of regions. Semi-desert, foothills. Roadsides, open canyons. Late spring, summer, fall.

Description:
Mirabilis multiflora is a perennial herb growing upright to about 80 centimeters in maximum height. The leaves are oppositely arranged on the spreading stem branches. Each fleshy leaf has an oval or rounded blade up to 12 centimeters long and is hairless or sparsely hairy. The flowers occur in leaf axils on the upper branches. Usually six flowers bloom in a bell-shaped involucre of five partly fused bracts. Each five-lobed, funnel-shaped flower is 4 to 6 centimeters wide and magenta in color.

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It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Requires a fertile well-drained soil in full sun or part-day shade. Plants flower in their first year from seed and, although they are not very hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -10°c when in a suitable situation, they can either be grown as half-hardy annuals or the tubers can be harvested in the autumn and stored overwinter in a cool frost-free place in much the same manner as dahlias. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed remains viable for several years. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth.

Edible Uses:
The dried root can be ground into a powder, mixed with cereal flours and used to make a bread. This bread is eaten to reduce the appetite.

Medicinal Uses:

Hallucinogenic; Poultice; Stomachic.

The root is used in the treatment of stomach complaints. A pinch of the powdered root is said to relieve hunger, it can also be used after overeating to relieve the discomfort. A poultice of the powdered root can be applied to swellings. Large quantities of the root are said to cause intoxication. The root was chewed by native North American Medicine men to induce visions whilst making a diagnosis.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Mirabilis+multiflora
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirabilis_multiflora
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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