Durban Early Detection and Rapid Response

Four-o-clock Mirabilis jalapa

Create Sighting

Select Invasive
Invasive Location
Confirm Sighting
Common Name

The exact origin of this plant is unknown, but it is thought to be native to parts of tropical America. Belonging to the Nyctaginaceae family, it is a long-lived perennial herb growing up to 2m high with a tuberous root. Its leaves are ovate and measure up to 9mm in length and the leaf stalk can be as long as 4cm. Flowers are tubular and are white, pink or red in colour, are fragrant and open in the afternoon between the months of November and March. They can be up to 6.5cm long, 3.5cm wide, with 5-6 stamens. Groups of 3-7 flowers occur, but flower stalks are more or less absent. The fruit is a small, brown, one-seeded capsule.

Why is it a problem?
It competes with, and has the potential to replace, indigenous species. This plant is poisonous.
Control method
The Four O’clock is best controlled by means of mechanical removal. There are no herbicides registered for it and no biological control agents have been introduced.
Where is it a problem?

Identifying other species

For help with identifying other species, submit your photo and observations to

The iSpot experts may be able to provide a name.


                                                                                  To view the SAPIA newsletter visit this link.