Jewels of Opar

Talinum paniculatum
Talinum paniculatum in bloom Photo: 'Hardyplants'
Photo: Raffi Kojian
Close up of flower Photo: Envil Vlien
Seed successfully germinating and reproducing between path and brick wall Photo: Sphyl
Fruit Photo: Sphyl
Close up of fruit Photo: Peter Woodard
Variegated cultivar Photo by David J. Stang
Source: Internet Archive Book Images

T. paniculatum bears tuberous roots and panicles of flowers and produces tiny, jewel-like fruits. Its peculiarity is its very long root, of orange colour , that reaches about 80 centimetres. The erect stems of teh plant can reach 1.2m high, where after maturity, its plentiful brown seeds disperse readily throughout the surrounding area.

Common names 
Also known as: Fameflower, Fame flower, pink baby's-breath, tall purslane,
Flowering time 
Native to the southern United States, much of Latin America (such as Paraguay and Uruguay) and the Caribbean.
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

Identified along the eastern sea-board of Australia (mainly S. E. Queensland) and Adelaide. Problematic in Africa, Thailand and the Pacific Islands


Moist or wet fields or thickets, often in waste ground, sometimes in cultivated fields. Once the long tap roots are established this species becomes drought tolerant.


Succulent herb growing to two (2) meters, develops exceptionally long orange tap root to 80cm. Develops delicate 'jewel like fruits' in summer.

Impact and control methods 

Once established it quickly spreads and forms a dense carpet outcompeting the more delicate native species. The long taproot can also provide an advantage during dry periods

Stem and leaves 

Stems erect, slender, commonly unbranched, sometimes reddish growing to around 1m (can grow to 1.2m), Leaves to 12 cm, light to medium greenreduced abruptly beneath inflorescence; blade elliptic to obovate, base attenuate.

Flowers and fruits 

Inflorescences paniculate, sometimes nodding. Flowers: sepals deciduous, sometimes reflexed, ovate to suborbiculate, 2.5-4 mm; petals red or pink, sometimes orangish, yellowish, or purplish, ovate to suborbiculate, 3-6 mm; stamens ca. 15-20; stigmas 3, linear; pedicel terete, ± uniformly slender, to 20 mm. Capsules subglobose, sometimes obtusely trigonous, 3-5 mm, exocarp and endocarp usually separating after dehiscence; endocarp valves persistent, remaining connate at apex, attached to receptacle by vascular strands from capsule apex; exocarp dehiscing from apex, valves deciduous ± separately. 2n = 24

Reproduction and dispersal 

Jewels of Opar reproduces by seed and stem cutting. The seeds are small (1 mm long), have a lenticular to comma-shape, and are produced in large numbers. There are about 5000 seeds per gram. These seeds could be dispersed short distances by foraging animals, human activity, or by wind. They may be dispersed longer distances by vehicles and in contaminated agricultural produce.