Commicarpus pentandrus

15 June 2016

This is the first species of the Nyctaginaceae to be illustrated in Flowering Plants of Africa. It is commonly known as the four o’clock family, as most members have flowers that open in the late afternoon to early evening. The family is renowned for its genera Mirabilis (commonly known as four o’clocks) and Bougainvillea (commonly known as Bougainvilla) for their brightly coloured and profuse flowering. These and most other genera are mainly distributed in the Neotropics and western North America, and globally the family consists of 30 genera with 300–400 species. In southern Africa, the family is represented by five genera with 20 species. Commicarpus Standl. is the genus in southern Africa with the largest and most spectacular flowers.