Jewels of Opar
Synonyms of Talinum paniculatum (22) (Updated on 1-16-23): Calandrinia andrewskii H.Vilm., Claytonia patens Kuntze, Claytonia reflexa (Cav.) Kuntze, Claytonia sarmentosa (Engelm.) Kuntze, Helianthemoides patens Medik., Portulaca paniculata Jacq., Portulaca patens L., Portulaca reflexa Haw., Ruelingia patens Ehrh., Ruelingia reflexa (Cav.) Spreng., Talinum chrysanthum Rose & Standl., Talinum dichotomum Ruiz & Pav., Talinum paniculatum var. sarmentosum (Engelm.) Poelln., Talinum paniculatum f. variegatum F.T.Hubb. & Rehder, Talinum patens Juss., Talinum patens var. sarmentosum (Engelm.) A.Gray, Talinum purpureum Fisch. ex Sweet, Talinum reflexum Cav., Talinum reflexum f. sarmentosum (Engelm.) Small, Talinum roseum Dammann, Talinum sarmentosum Engelm., Talinum spathulatum A.Gray
Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Talinum. It was described as such by Joseph Gaertner in De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum in 1791. It was first named and described as Portulaca paniculata by Nicholaus Joseph von Jacquin in Enumeratio Systematica Plantarum in 1760.
The genus, Talinum Adans., is the correct and accepted scientific name for the genus. It was named and described by Michel Adanson in Familles des Plantes in 1763.
As of 1-16-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 27 species in the Talinum genus. It is a member of the plant family Talinaceae with 2 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
My start of Talinum paniculatum was given to me in the spring of 2012 by my good friend and fellow plant collector Walley Morse of Greenville, Mississippi while I was living at the mansion in Leland. He gave me two clumps so I put one in the corner bed on the west side of the front porch and one in the bed next to the west sunroom. He has a beautiful yard and travels to many shows and brings a lot of plants back home. I was glad that he shared many plants with me.
Family: Talinaceae (Formerly in the Portulacaceae family).
Origin: South-southwest United States, Mexico, Central America.
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-10b (20 to 35° F).*
Size: 18-24” tall.
Light: Sun to light shade.
Water: Average, drought tolerant.
*The Talinum paniculatum has successfully reseeded here on the farm in west-central Missouri in USDA Zone 6 since 2014.
The Talinum paniculatum is considered an herbaceous perennial succulent. It is succulent, I suppose, but it seems more like a perennial. Some information also refers to it as a succulent sub-shrub. Its stems are kind of fleshy but they become slightly woody with age toward the bottom of the stem.
The distribution map on Plants of the World Online is sort of short of its distribution area. Even the USDA Plants Database doesn’t list Mississippi. Anyone that has grown this plant in the south has it forever and it can get a little pushy. Just think of how many people have bought these plants over the years in various parts of the country and passed them along to others. This is definitely a plant that you will want to pass along either because you like it and want to share or you don’t know what to do with the extras.
I sold the mansion in Leland to a group who converted it into The Thompson House Bed and Breakfast. Dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri, so in February 2013 I made the move. I gave up around 200 plants but brought many with me, including my two clumps of Talinum paniculatum.
When temperatures permitted, I planted them on the south side of the house in the southwest corner. I put one on each side of the downspout. They flourished here in full sun and even grew larger than they did in Mississippi.
Taking good photos of the tiny flowers was difficult. Sometimes I had to use a magnifying glass in front of the lens but most of the photos were too blurry even then. I have a new camera now that is a little better.
The last time I checked, there were two cultivars of Talinum paniculatum, ‘Limón’ and ‘Kingwood Gold’. There is also a variegated variety.
Deadheading the flower stems when the seed pods start to develop is one way to keep this plant from reseeding so much. Within no time you will have another flush of flowers to deadhead. This process will repeat continuously until the plants get zapped by a frost. In areas where there is no frost, these plants may flower 12 months a year.
On the morning of August 30 (2013) I took this photo. As you can see the plant is LOADED with what looked like seed pods and only a few flowers. Then…
I took this photo in the early evening when the Talinum paniculatum was in the shade. Now, instead of being loaded with seed pods, it is LOADED with flowers. Apparently, what I thought was seed pods in the morning were buds.
I saved plenty of seed toward the end of the summer just in case they didn’t self-sow.
I didn’t need to plant the seeds I saved. 2013 was the second summer I had grown the Talinum paniculatum but 2014 was the first spring I experienced the seeds coming up. It made me wonder what the beds looked like at the mansion where they had been in 2012.
The Jewels of Opar did well during the summer of 2014 but I didn’t have the opportunity to take many photos or do much gardening. I didn’t take any photos in 2014 after July 12.
The same thing happened in 2015. I had other things going on and not much time for gardening or taking photos.
Finally, I started blogging again in January 2017 and started taking LOTS of photos again. I was trying to get back in the swing of gardening. The Jewels of Opar in the above photo were coming up in the planter behind the olf foundation (where my grandparent’s old house was). I transplanted them in the bed on the south side of the house.
I put a row of them along the border in the center of the bed.
As usual, they did very well with minimal care.
According to information online, they prefer a well-drained, moist soil rich in organic matter. Folks, this plant will grow in just about any soil with good drainage.
The Talinum paniculatum grows best in full sun but is also tolerant of light shade. In Missouri, I have only grown them in full sun, but in Mississippi I had them growing where they only had a few hours of direct sun if that much.
This plant is also edible and have a sharp flavor. The leaves can be used in salads and stews. The young stems can be used in stews but after a while they become woody.
The Talinum paniculatum also has herbal uses and benefits (See the link to Herbpathy and Philippine Medicinal Plants below)
Our first frost of 2017 was on October 28. Several plants took it pretty hard but the Jewels of Opar seemed unaffected. They are not all that frost tolerant, but a few light touches of frost seem OK especially if they are sort of protected. Eventually, though, they finally got a good ZAP. GEEZ!
The 2017-2018 winter was harder than any had been since I had been back in mid-Missouri. We had several days of -10° F at the beginning of January and the cold just lingered. We didn’t have much snow, however, which is worse than if we did. Snow protects plant roots from severely cold temperatures. I was concerned that perhaps the Talinum paniculatum seeds would not come up because it was so cold.
Then I checked to see if there were any seedlings coming up on May 17. To my surprise, they were!
The seedlings come up over a two-week or so period, sometimes in large patches.
Some are slow to take off, but once it starts getting warmer…
Talinum paniculatum likes it hot and once temperatures are consistently warm, also during the evening, they really jump…
They waste no time blooming…
Once flowers fade and the fruit develops, it is a good time to remove the flower stems. They will start flowering again in no time. This is a repeated process all summer. You remove, they grow more over and over. You don’t want to remove all the fruit, though, because they will be needed for the next springs seedlings.
The above photos the last one I took in 2018 of the Talinum paniculatum.
HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! As you can see, on May 25 when the above photo was taken, there were plenty of seedlings for 2019… You just have to be patient. I guess I should say “I” have to be patient. When I want to start planting the bed with new perennials or see what has made it through the winter, I have to wait for seedlings to come up first.
The Celosia argentea “Cramer’s Amazon’ tries to take over the south bed and does a very good job of it… The Talinum paniculatum seedlings don’t grow as fast so I have to keep an eye on their progress.
I was fairly busy in the summer of so I didn’t get any more photos of the Talinum paniculatum for 2019. Then, 2020 came along and I was kind of busy again, mainly with the vegetable garden. The south bed got very overgrown with Celosia argentea ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ but I did see several Talinum paniculatum in the mess.
What do I think about the Talinum paniculatum? Personally, I think they are a jewel. They aren’t perennial here in west-central Missouri, but sometimes their seeds come up by the thousands. They don’t come up that early, so you will have to be patient. Sometimes you wonder if they are gone… In 2021, I thought they were completely gone, so I brought home another plant from a local greenhouse. The next thing I knew, hundreds of seedlings were coming up…
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you see I made an error, let me know. You can also send me an email at email@example.com.