Purple Calandrinia

Calandrinia ciliata (Ruiz & Pav.) DC.

Synonyms - Calandrinia caulescens, Calandrinia menziesii

Family: Portulacaceae.

Names:

Purple Calandrinia refers to the purple colour of the flower and its genus Calandrinia.

Other Names:

Mountain Sorrel

Summary:

A prostrate annual with 5 petalled, purple flowers from September to November, succulent, leaves and branching stems that reach 25 cm or more in length.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two. The cotyledon is 20 to 30 mm long and only 1.0 to 1.5 mm wide, sessile, and hairless. The seedling has a very short hypocotyl and no epicotyl.

First leaves:

The leaves grow singly, the first being 20 to 40 mm long, sessile, and hairless. The leaves may be parallel sided or spoon shaped initially.

Leaves:

The plant develops as a rosette of 150 to 250 mm in diameter.
Stipules -
Petiole - Long, up to 25 mm.
Blade - Spoon shape. Fleshy, 50-120 mm long x 4-10 mm wide, tapering into a long petiole.
Stem leaves - are 50 to 60 mm long, sessile, hairless and do not show the typical spoon shape of the rosette leaves.

Stems:

The stems are polygonal in cross section with longitudinal ridges that originate from either side of the leaf base, solid with a pithy core, and hairless. Prostrate or ascending. Up to 250 mm long.

Flower head:

Raceme with leafy bracts near the top of the stems.

Flowers:

The flowers are solitary and axillary, 15 mm in diameter and borne on 4 angled, short, 6-15 mm, erect, stalks that are shorter than the bracts.
Bracts - Leaf like. Opposite at anthesis becoming alternate when in fruit.
Ovary - Superior, free.
Styles - 3, united for half their length.
Stigmas - 3, the same length as the style.
Sepals - 5-7 mm long when in flower and 10 mm long when in fruit. Acute tip. Keeled with fine hairs on the keel.
Petals - 5. Dark purple, egg shaped, 7-12 mm long x 3-5 mm wide.
Stamens - 10-13.
Anthers -

Fruit:

Egg shaped, 3 valved, capsule that is about as long as the sepals (7-9 mm) with about 20 seeds. Tapering tip. Valves bent back at the tip.

Seeds:

Sphere shaped and flattened near the edges, 1.4-1.7 mm diameter, black, shiny, with small rounded elevations and a sharply keeled edge.

Roots:

Key Characters:

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual. Germination occurs in Autumn and Spring.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

September to November in SA and WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

None.

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Origin and History:

North America.
Established in SA before 1863.
Most other Calandrinia species are native plants.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
It is locally abundant both in the North and the South of Tasmania.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Fodder.

Detrimental:

It is principally a weed of cropping areas, but on occasions has been known to become dense in poor quality pasture. It can be strongly competitive.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic, but related species may have high oxalate contents.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Broad-leaved Parakeelya (Calandrinia balonensis)
Parakeelya (C. polyandra)
Round-leaved Parakeelya (C. remota)
Small-leaved Parakeelya (C. calyptrata)
Small Purslane (C. eremaea)
Tiny Purslane (C. pumila)
Twining Purslane(C. volubilis)
C. ptychosperma

Plants of similar appearance:

The cotyledon is similar to that of Narrow-leaf Plantain and Spurry. Plantain has a median depression on the cotyledon, which is not present in Calandrinia.
Spurry has a cotyledon with a circular cross section while that of Calandrinia is flattened.
Once leaves develop these three species are not likely to be confused.

References:

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P348.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P298.

Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1975). Tasmanian weed handbook. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania). P90. Diagram.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #218.4.

Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander, N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P101.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information for more information.