Sunday, September 8, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Sweet Four O'clock

Sweet Four O'clock (Mirabilis longiflora)

In 1812, Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon sent Thomas Jefferson seed of the "Sweet-scented Marvel of Peru.” Native to the arid regions of the southwest and Mexico, Sweet Four O'Clock is an unusual cousin of the more familiar Common Four O’Clock, or Marvel of Peru, M. jalapa. It bears strongly fragrant, long, tubular, pure white flowers that open at dusk for pollination by night insects including hummingbird moths. This species is as rare in gardens today as it was in 1812.