German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Four o`clock

Mirabilis jalapa

Common name:

Four o`clock

Scientific name:

Mirabilis jalapa

Alternative common names:

Heart-leaf four-o'clock, heart-leaf umbrella-wort, snotweed, umbrella-wort. (English), Vieruurtjie (Afrikaans). 

Four o' clock is a bushy, tender perennial that typically grows tall on erect, branching stems. It is an old garden favorite that features fragrant, funnel-shaped, tubular flowers with five flaring petal-like lobes. Flowers bloom from early/mid-summer to autumn. Flowers open in the late afternoon (around four o’clock) and stay open only until the following morning.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Tropical America.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 1b.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Largely confined to Gauteng Province, with scattered records from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Province.

    How does it spread?

    They reproduce and spread from seeds. This shrub thrives in summer during the rainy season.

    Why is it a problem?

    Regarded as a minor environmental weed or "sleeper weed" in many parts of the world. It is capable of withstanding extended droughts due to the tuberous roots. It has potential to out compete indigenous vegetation. The seeds and plant are poisonous if ingested.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves: Opposite, slightly pointed oval leaves and multi-branching stems. Flowers: Trumpet-shaped, five-petal flowers come in pink, red, yellow, white and some bi-colours. 30–50mm long. Flowers have a slight vanilla scent and open in the late afternoon through the evening. Fruit/seeds: The seeds are egg-shaped, hairy and greyish brown, with five lengthwise ribs. The fruit is a small, one-seeded capsule (anthocarp). Rounded nut-like fruit 7-11mm long and turning wrinkled and black when mature.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Largely planted as a garden ornamental. The flowers are used as food colouring. Leaves may be eaten cooked as well but only as an emergency food.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…

26-02-2019

This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training

22-01-2019

During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group

04-09-2018

Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?

01-03-2018

On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released

28-02-2018

Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised

25-01-2018

The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more