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Calandrinia polyandra

Common name: Parakeelya

Family: PORTULACACEAE

Eucalyptus kingsmillii in flowerOrigin of Scientific Name

Calandrinia – after Jean Luis Calandrini (1703–58), Professor of Mathematics and Botany at Geneva.

polyandra – with many stamens.

Description

Calandrinia polyandra is a small annual succulent herb growing to approximately 400 mm in diameter. Perhaps one of the most spectacular Calandrinias in Australia, it has large, deep pink flowers 20-35 mm in diameter, with a striking yellow centre and an almost iridescent sheen. The flowers are raised up on pedicles 10-25 mm long, which sway in even the slightest breeze. The leaves of C. polyandra are linear to oblanceolate, thick and fleshy and when not in flower its most distinguishing feature is a strong central groove running the length of the upper leaf surface. Plants grow as a rosette but can also have upright and irregular arrangements of leaves.

Distribution

Endemic to Australia, populations are found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland on very sandy (often red) soils in drier parts of the continent.

Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Environment and Conservation's FloraBase online herbarium.

Flowering Season

In the wild, Calandrinia flowers from July to October. In irrigated cultivation it will flower throughout the entire year, with best results achieved by 2 or 3 plantings in the year.

Cultivation/Propagation

Propagation is from seed. It prefers an open position in full sun, in a well-drained soil. It requires minimal watering once established. Apply a native slow release fertiliser and regular liquid feeds to promote optimal growth and flowering.

Notes

Keep a close eye on the flowers as they close late in the afternoon and night then re-open mid-morning as the sun rises. During the wildflower season, Calandrinia polyandra flowering in its natural habitat is truly a spectacular sight when thousands of flowering plants cover large areas of ground. In cultivation, it looks good planted in beds among other flowering annuals or in rockeries and hanging baskets. It is worth noting that Australian Calandrinias are not closely related to the Calandrinias found in other parts of the world and therefore revision of the genus is pending. While there are over thirty endemic Australian species, there are still many species not yet named and others still being discovered.

View in Kings Park

This species can be viewed at the entry to the Western Australian Botanic Garden and in the gardens opposite Aspects of Kings Park gallery shop.