The Four o'clock flower is originally from Peru, not from the Mexican city of Jalapa from which it seems to take its generic name: this name was attributed by confusion with other native American species of this place. Linnaeus saw in it a wonder (mirabilis), and has been considered remarkable by the fact that flowers of different colors appear in a single stem. The poet of the flowers of the Sevilla of the sixteenth century, Francisco de Rioja, called this arrebolera plant, and a street was labelled with this name in the city for the current round of María Auxiliadora.
Mirabilis jalapa is an American species that Simon de Tovar sent from Seville to Clusius to the Netherlands. Simon de Tovar (? -1596) Studied medicine at the University of Sevilla and lived in this city until his death. Here he possessed a true botanical garden. This garden was not the simple garden of a curious, as most of Seville’s gardens used to be in the sixteenth century, but, on the contrary, it was organized according to scientific non arbitrary criteria. Tovar even published yearly plants catalogs that he distributed among his correspondents in different countries. In this way his garden was known by the Dutch botanist Carolus Clusius, who regularly sent seeds to Tovar, even potted plants, and news of their experiences of acclimatization of alien species. Tovar is the originator of the introduction and cultivation of the nard (Polianthes tuberosa L.) in Europe from specimens grown in his garden. The Garden of Simon de Tovar enjoyed such a reputation that King Philip II, who had founded the Botanical Garden of Aranjuez, showed interest in it and ordered that it would be maintained after the death of Tovar, although this has not reached our days.