Sanje” means evening in Kannada and “Mallige” means Jasmine. Since the flowers bloom at around four in the evenings and wilt by morning it is called as Sanje Mallige in Kannada and Four O clock flowers in English. They have other beautiful names like “Marvel of Peru” and Mirabilis Jalapa (Mirabilis in Latin means wonderful and Jalapa is a town in Mexico). These plants are perennials and are known for their pleasant fragrance.
Sanje Mallige / Four O Clock flowers is a native of Peruvian Andes. These flowers are 2 inches long trumpet shaped and an inch across. The flowers are yellow, magenta, bright pink, white, red, double color and sometimes more than one color flowers on a single plant. The plants grow upright up to 2 to 3 feet tall with many branches and bloom in summer. The flowers are not formed from petals but from pigmented modification of the calyx.
Photgraphed at Sangama
Butterflies and bees pollinate the flowers before sunset and nocturnal pollinators pollinate after sunset, which are attracted to the flowers by their fragrance.
The seeds look like peppercorns and these plants multiply rapidly and are one of the beautiful weeds across the tropical countries.
Sanjemallige plant is propagated either by seeds or by its tubers. The plant can be grown either in pots or in direct soil. Plant them under direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist and feed with a fertilizer every two months.
The Four O Clock flowers are used to obtain an edible crimson dye, which is used to color food like cakes and jellies.
Parts of this plant are used as purgative, diuretic, and to heal wounds.