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Origin and Habitat: Central southern United States (Illinois to Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas).
Altitude range: 100–1200 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: Talinum calycinum grows on exposed edge of sandstone cliffs, on rocky soils, rocks and glades. It is found growing both singly or in large colonies in the wild, lately it is quite rare.
ENGLISH: Large-flowered Flower-of-an-hour, fameflower, fame flower, rock pink
Description: Talinum calycinum is handsome succulent up to 40 cm talll that differs from other species of this genus in its larger flowers, larger capsules, and more numerous stamens. A tuft of short, flashy, finger-like leaves spring from the crown of the pinkish yellow, fleshy root. The flower is a bright rose colour filled with 30-45 golden stamen, seeming to float above the plant, as the stems are so fine and dark that they are nearly invisible. There are many buds in the loose sprays with a number of stems, so that, though the flowers open early in the afternoon and are short lived, the beautiful display lasts well from midsummer to first frost. A gentle breeze will set the flowers to dancing like hovering butterflies.
Derivation of specific name: Specific epithet means calyx-like.
Roots: Fleshily woody, carrot-like root that remains under the medium through the winter.
Stems: Ascending or erect, simple or branching.
Leaves: Sessile, sparse. Blade very narrow, linear, succulent-type, subterete, to 7 cm long. Foliage turns a beautiful bright pink before disappearing at first frost.
Inflorescences: Cymes atop leafless scapelike stems (peduncles) much overtopping basal clumps leaves, to 25 cm tall.
Flowers: Sepals persistent, ovate to suborbiculate, 4–6 mm; petals 5 to 8 pink- to red-purple, obovate, 10–15 mm. Stamens 25–45; stigma 1, subcapitate, 3-lobed.
Fruits (capsules): Broadly ovoid, 6–7 mm.
Seeds: Without arcuate ridges, 1 mm.
Phenology: In habitat this species flowers from may (spring) to september-october (fall). Flowers typically open at noon and remain open only until mid-afternoon.
Chromosome number: 2n = 24 (Some populations of Talinum calycinus are diploid while others are tetraploid, the latter probably the result of autopolyploidy)
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Robert H. Mohlenbrock “Flowering Plants: Pokeweeds, Four-o'clocks, Carpetweeds, Cacti, Purslanes, Goosefoots, Pigweeds, and Pinks” SIU Press, 18 July 2001
2) The American Horticultural Magazine, Volumi 14-15 1935
3) Robert W. Kiger in “Flora of North America”, Vol 4, web: http://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.flora.fna004000998?searchUri=filter%3Dname%26so%3Dps_group_by_genus_species%2Basc%26Query%3DTalinum%2Bcalycinum
Cultivation and Propagation: Talinum calycinum is a superior accent plant on green roofs, widely used for its spectacular flower display. It has attractive, succulent-looking foliage and is quick to send up thin panicles adorned with pink or magenta flowers with yellow centres, that open every afternoon. 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.
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 resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric); 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 colour and is tighter in growth in the sun. In shade conditions the plant is a softer more graceful specimen.
Hardiness: It is a drought tolerant, winter hardy North American native that can be grown throughout Zones 6-9 - and as an annual farther north.
Pest/Disease Problems: No serious insect or disease problems.
Garden uses: It is suitable for small “desert” gardens, in association with other xerophytes. This plant self sows freely, but only in open medium, so does not displace other groundcovers.
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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