Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Calandrinia ciliata - Desert rock purslane

Family: Portulacaceae [E-flora]

"Calandrinia ciliata is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought." [PFAF]

"General: Annual herb from a taproot; stems decumbent to ascending, several, simple to branched from the base, smooth or fringed along the angles, 5-35 cm long." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Moist, gravelly or grassy vernal sites in the lowland zone; locally frequent on SE Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; S to AZ and CA; S America." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]


Edible Uses

Cultivation & Propagation

"Prefers a hot sunny situation on a poor dry sandy soil[200]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, but it should be possible to grow it as a tender annual in this country. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance, they are best treated as half-hardy annuals and sown in situ in late spring[1]. In frosty climates this species can become a self-sowing annual, the seed germinating in spring[157]." [PFAF]

"Seed - best sown in situ in spring since it strongly resents root disturbance. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 weeks at 20oc[138]. Cuttings." [PFAF]



Calandrina Sp.

"Habit: Annual [perennial herb], +- fleshy, +- glabrous or glaucous. Stem: several to many, prostrate to ascending [erect], 3--45 cm. Leaf: simple, alternate; blade linear to spoon-shaped, flat [cylindric]. Inflorescence: raceme or panicle; bracts leaf-like [or scarious]. Flower: sepals 2, overlapped, persistent in fruit; petals (3)5(7), +- pink-purple (white); stamens 3--15; stigmas 3. Fruit: 3-valved. Seed: 6--many, ovate to +- elliptic, generally black, smooth, finely tubercled, or with fine, net-like pattern. Species In Genus: 14 species: western America. Etymology: (J.L. Calandrini, Swiss scientist, 1703--1758) Note: Other taxa in TJM (1993) moved to Cistanthe; number of species (150) indicated in TJM (1993) and TJM2 (2012) should have been much smaller. Calandrinia menziesii added, as segregated from Calandrinia ciliata, which as newly circumscribed does not occur in CA and therefore has been removed." [Jepson]

Local Species

  1. Calandrinia ciliata - Desert rock purslane [E-flora]

Uses of non-local species


Calandrinia balonensis, Calandrinia polyandra, Calandrinia remota; "The plant contains oxalic acid, so it should only be used in moderation[144]. Oxalic acid can lock up certain of the nutrients in food and, if eaten in excess, can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It is, however, perfectly safe in small amounts and its acid taste adds a nice flavour to salads. Cooking the plant will reduce the quantity of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238]." [PFAF]

Food Use


Page last modified on Sunday, January 17, 2021 9:34 PM