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Mirabilis jalapa

Family Name: Nyctaginaceae
Common Name: Marvel of Peru, Four-o-clock, False Jalap, Bunga Pukul Empat, 四时花
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Butterfly Food Plant Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Annual Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1 m


Native Distribution Tropical Ameirca
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Annual herb up to 1 m tall.
Roots Black or blackish brown roots are tuberous.
Foliage Leaves are ovate or ovate-triangular (3-15 cm long, 2-9 cm wide).
Flowers Red, purple, white, yellow or variegated flowers are trumpet shaped (2-6 cm long tube, 2.5-3 cm wide 'trumpet').
Fruits Black, round fruits are leathery and ribbed (5-8 mm wide).
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The roots are used in Chinese folk medicine as a purgative. The juice is extracted from the leaves and applied to wounds while a decoction is applied to abscesses. The leaves and seeds are used as a purgative.)
[Others]: The flowers are used for making dyes.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers)
Landscape Uses Small Gardens
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks The seeds are extremely poisonous.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Flowers), Butterfly Food Plant

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Propagation Method Seed, Storage Organ (Tuberous Root)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Root Tuber)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Purple, Red, White, Yellow / Golden
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Trumpet-shaped
Flower Lifespan on Plant 1 Night
Flowering Opening Time Remarks Flowers open in late afternoon and close the next morning.

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black, Brown
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Rough
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 933
Species ID 2227
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 07 September 2021.