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Common Name: Four O'clock Plant
Mirabilis multiflora is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Southern N. America - Texas to Colorado and Utah.
Hillsides and mesas, often amongst rocks and shrubs[
]. Gravelly or sandy soils, pinyon-juniper woodlands, ponderosa pine forests at elevations of 300 - 2300 metres[
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[
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[
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[
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[