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Accepted Scientific Name: Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn.
Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 219 1791 Gaertn.
Origin and Habitat: Talinum paniculaium is native to tropical America from south USA ( Arizona, Florida, Carolina, Kentuky, Luisiana, New Mexico, Texas) Mexico, Central America, West Indies and South America to central Argentina and dispersed into Asia, but is now a pantropical weed. It occurs scattered throughout tropical Africa, and is locally cultivated as a vegetable and in places may become naturalised in cultivated land in Ghana, Zaïre and Nigeria. In USA Talinum paniculatum is generally thought to be native west of the Mississippi River and adventive eastward, where it often is weedy.
Altitude range: 0–2200 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: This species is found in several habitats comprising, moist to dry woodlands and savannas also desert scrub, grasslands, beaches, flats, mounds, slopes, ledges in sand, clay, limestone, sandstone, igneous, often rocky soils and crevices. In tropical Africa Talinum paniculaium occurs locally naturalized, usually in cultivated land and roadsides, sometimes in forest edges.
Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn.
Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 219 1791
- Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn.
- Portulaca paniculata Jacq.
- Calandrinia andrewski hort. ex E.Vilm.
- Talinum chrysanthum Rose & Standl.
- Talinum dichotomum Ruiz & Pav.
- Talinum moritziana Kl. ex Rohrb.
- Talinum paniculatum var. sarmentosum (Engelm.) Poelln.
- Talinum patens var. sarmentosum (Engelm.) A.Gray
- Talinum reflexum f. saramentosum (Engelm.) Small
- Talinum sarmentosum Engelm.
- Talinum patens (L.) Willd.
- Claytonia patens (L.) Kuntze
- Helianthemoides patens Medik.
- Portulaca patens L.
- Ruelingia patens (L.) Ehrh.
- Talinum purpureum hort. ex A.Gray
- Talinum reflexum Cav.
- Portulaca reflexa (Cav.) Haw.
- Talinum roseum Kl. ex Rohrb.
- Talinum spathulatum Engelm. ex A.Gray
- Talinum paniculatum cv. Kingwood Gold
- Talinum paniculatum cv. Limón
- Talinum paniculatum cv. Variegatum
Description: Talinum paniculatum is a fleshy, shrubby, erect, glabrous herbaceous plant, from the purslane family, that grows up to 100(-120) cm tall with perennial root-stock, not branched or sparsely branched at base, becoming softly woody below. This is probably the most widespread taxon of the genus, frequently encountered as weed. Its variability is enormous. The blooms are starry pink with fluffy white stamens that sway on wiry stemmed sprays. The small, delicate pink flowers in cloudlike panicles make a nice contrast to the bright golden yellow, round seed capsules and are produced almost year-round. It is a good shade plant.
Roots: Tuberous elongate branched and fleshy.
Stem: Succulent, slender, slightly woody at base, dark purple to brownish black.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, flat, succulent, bright green with a white or creamy border, almost sessile or with a pedicel to 15 mm long. Blade elliptical to obovate, 3-12 cm long, 1.5-4 cm wide, reduced abruptly beneath inflorescence. Base cuneate, apex obtuse or acute. Margin entire rarely revolute. Venation pinnate, indistinct. Stipules absent.
Inflorescence: A large, many-flowered terminal thyrsiform panicle, sometimes nodding, central axis 15–40(-60) cm long, laxly branched, the lateral dichasia spreading with very slender, stiff peduncles and pedicels bearing up to 30 flowers. Lateral branches sometimes contracted.
Flowers: Bisexual, regular, smallish, to 7 mm wide, opening towards evening. Pedicel 10-20 mm long, terete, uniformly slender. Sepals 2, green or pinkish to yellowish, ovate to suborbiculate, sometimes reflexed, deeply concave, 1.5-2 mm long to 2.5 mm wide, caducous. Petals 5, free, obovate to orbicular or emarginate, pink, 3-5 mm long. Stamens 15-18, filaments almost completely free, hardly papillose basally. Ovary superior, globose, green, 1-celled, style c. 3 mm long, slender, with 3-branched linear stigma.
Fruits (capsules): Globose, sometimes obtusely trigonous, straw-yellow or amber-colored at first finishing off to a cinnamon red, 3-5 mm long, with 3 outer caducous and 3 inner membranous persistent but fragile valves elastically dehiscent from the base, many-seeded.
Phenology (Northern hemisphere): June-August (summer), September-November (fall). In the tropics flowers and capsules are produced almost year-round.
Seeds: Lenticular to comma-shaped, c. 1 mm long, shining black, smooth or tuberculate, elongated in concentric rings, minutely pitted at the cell corners. There are about 5000 seeds per gramme.
Chromosome number: 2n = 24
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Talinum paniculatum group
- Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn.: is a shrubby herbaceous plant up to 100(-120) cm tall with perennial root-stock. Distribution: North, Central and South America, but is now a pantropical weed.
- Talinum paniculatum cv. Kingwood Gold: Has gold to lime foliage.
- Talinum paniculatum cv. Limón: Has lime green foliage.
- Talinum paniculatum cv. Variegatum: has excellent creamy white edged foliage topped with wiry reddish stems with dainty pink flowers.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) G. J. H. Grubben “Vegetables” PROTA, 2004
2) Forest & Kim Starr “Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar)”. Plants of Hawaii. <http://www.starrenvironmental.com>. 23 Nov. 2014.
3) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer Science & Business Media, 2002
4) Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn. [family PORTULACACEAE] in: Burkill, H.M. “The useful plants of west tropical Africa” Vol 4 1985.
5) Sylvia M. Phillips “Flora of Tropical East Africa” 2002
6) Robert W. Kiger “Talinum paniculatum (Jacquin) Gaertner [family PORTULACACEAE]” in: Flora of North America, Vol 4
7) Sajeva, Maurizio; Mariangela Costanzo “Succulents: the Illustrated Dictionary.” Timber Press. 1997
8) Hodgson, Larry “Annuals for Every Purpose.” Rodale. 2002
9) Winter, Norman “Limón talinum is jewel for gardens” Southern Gardening (Mississippi State University) Wednesday, 15-Sep-2010 URL: http://msucares.com/news/print/sgnews/sg07/sg070628.html
10) Wikipedia contributors. "Talinum paniculatum." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Jul. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
11) HANSEN, A. & P. SUNDING "Flora of Macaronesia. Checklist of vascular plants. 4. revised edition." Sommerfeltia 17: [1-295] 1993
Cultivation and Propagation: Jewels-of-Opar Talinum paniulalum has attractive, succulent-looking foliage and is quick to send up arching panicles adorned with light to hot pink star-shaped flowers. Amazingly, these flowers appear repeatedly over a long period of time. It is a summer grower species that offers no cultivation difficulties. Good as a low accent plant in full sun or minimal shade areas. Can handle dry conditions as in rock gardens as it tolerates low moisture. It can be overwintered outdoors if sheltered from frosts.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate growth rate.
Soil: In cultivation it prefers well-drained, moist soil rich in organic matter, but it adapts to most soil types, preferably not too heavy in texture; good drainage is desirable.
Repotting: Repot in the spring, when their roots become cramped. Generally, they should be repotted every other year in order to provide fresh soil. After repotting, do not water for a week or more. Needs a large pot to accommodate a large root system.
Waterings: It is drought tolerant; A deep soaking once a month in the summer will keep the plant looking good. For pot culture in summer, during the vegetative period, it must be regularly watered, but allowing the substratum to completely dry up before irrigating again (but do not overwater ); in winter, it’s to be kept dry. Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days.
Fertilization: Low food needs. It responds well to fertilizer.
Exposure: Full sun to light shade. Plant has more color and is tighter in growth in the sun. In shade conditions the plant is a softer more graceful specimen.
Hardiness: Hardy to zone 9. Will handle temperatures down to freezing, but frost on the leaves will knock it down.
Pest/Disease Problems: Aphids are the only real pests. Overwatering and poor drainage will damage or kill the plant.
Garden uses: It is suitable for small “desert” gardens, in association with other xerophytes. The plant's form and texture are compatible with other succulents and cacti. Where the open air cultivation is not possible due to the climate, it is to be cultivated in pot in order to shelter it in winter. The long panicles are perfect for cutting and using like you would Baby's Breath. Once the flowers are gone, the stems have fruit capsules that are amber-colored at first finishing off to a cinnamon red. These, too, are very attractive elements for the vase.
Food uses: The shoots and leaves of Talinum paniulalum are added to stews and soups, e.g. in Ghana, Nigeria and DR Congo. They are also eaten as a vegetable in tropical America. Leaves of Talinum paniculatus may be replaced by those of Talinum biangulare, which have a similar but slightly less sharp taste. Young shoots are picked when the plants are 30 cm tall and leaves are fully developed. Inflorescences should be removed regularly. Although plants remain productive longer, they should be removed after one year as they become woody.
Medicinal use: Leaves have medicinal properties. One leaf a day keeps anaemia away. Anti-inflammatory properties reported.
Special tips for variegated forms: Variegated talinum are relatively easy to grow. But be aware that they cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to direct sun light (especially during the hottest summer days), so grow them in half-shade or under filtered sun.
Propagation: It is easily propagated by seed or cuttings. Seeds are sown in the field under light shade or in a nursery. Seedlings appear after 1 week and should be transplanted within 5 weeks. Cuttings arc taken from slightly woody stems, from which tops and leaves are removed. They require ample watering. Cuttings are planted at a density of about 5 per m.
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