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Talinum caffrum (Porcupine Root)


Scientific Name

Talinum caffrum (Thunb.) Eckl. & Zeyh.

Common Names

Porcupine Root, Fameflower


Anacampseros ramosa, Claytonia caffra, Portulaca caffra, Talinum carinatum, Talinum edule, Talinum esculentum, Talinum minus, Talinum peteri

Scientific Classification

Family: Talinaceae
Genus: Talinum


Talinum caffrum is a succulent, deciduous perennial, sometimes biennial, with a thickened, tuberous, caudex-like root stalk and erect or prostrate, much-branched stems up to 16 inches (40 cm) long. The leaves are green, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) wide, with margins, sometimes rolled under. They are often succulent and deciduous but may be semi-evergreen. The flowers are mostly solitary, rarely in clusters of 2 to 3, yellow, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter, opening in the afternoon and fading by nightfall.


USDA hardiness zones 11a to 11b: from 40 °F (+4.4 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Jewels of Opar prefers a full sun location but can tolerate a small amount of shade for part of the day. It does well in hot dry areas but benefits from some watering. It can be drought-tolerant for several weeks at a time. It does best in sandy and well-drained soils and is tolerant of poor soils and heat. Excellent for rock gardens and hot areas where not to much else grows.

The lime green leaves brighten up any garden and it makes a wonderful border plant or addition to any flower garden. Will reseed itself once established, just thin out the seedlings or transplant to where you want them. If reseeding is undesirable deadhead as seeds form. Sadly seeds usually form on the same stalks that are still flowering so this is often hard to do.

It grows well as a pot plant and is excellent on hot sunny decks where the lime green leaves provide an appearance of coolness. See more at Growing Tips and Uses for Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).


Talinum caffrum is native to Namibia, Angola, and Kenya.


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