Talinum caffrum (Thunb.) Eckl. & Zeyh.

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Talinum caffrum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zambezi National Park.

Talinum caffrum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zambezi National Park.

Talinum caffrum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zambezi National Park.

Talinum caffrum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zambezi National Park.

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Portulaca caffra Thunb.
Common names: Porcupine-root (English)
Status: Native
Erect or suberect perennial herb, up to 40 cm tall, growing from a swollen tuber-like root. Leaves and stems somewhat fleshy. Leaves elliptic-lanceolate, up to 6 × 1.5 cm; margin sometimes rolled under. Flowers axillary, mostly solitary, rarely in clusters of 2-3, yellow,up to 2 cm in diameter, opening in the afternoon and fading by nightfall. Fruit a subglobose capsule. Seeds c. 20, shiny black with a white hilum, 1.5-2 mm in diameter, with raised concentric ridges on the surface (visible with a lens).
Notes: Similar to T. tenuissimum. The 2 species are mainly separated on the surfaces of the seeds and leaf shapes.
Derivation of specific name: caffrum: from Kaffraria, or South Africa
Habitat: In open woodland and grassland.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Nov - Mar
Worldwide distribution: From Ethiopia, Sudan to Angola, Namibia and South Africa
Malawi distribution: S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Monday 23 January 2017

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 305. (Includes a picture).

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 216. (Includes a picture).

Linley, K. & Baker, B. (1972). Flowers of the Veld Bundu Series Longman Zimbabwe Page 33.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 68.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 94.

Wild, H. (1961). Portulacaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(2) Pages 370 - 371. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Talinum caffrum:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Talinum caffrum
Flora of Mozambique: Talinum caffrum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Talinum caffrum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Talinum caffrum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Talinum caffrum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Talinum caffrum
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Talinum caffrum
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Talinum caffrum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Talinum caffrum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Talinum caffrum
iNaturalist: Talinum caffrum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Talinum caffrum
JSTOR Plant Science: Talinum caffrum
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Talinum caffrum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Talinum caffrum
Plants of the World Online: Talinum caffrum
Tropicos: Talinum caffrum
Wikipedia: Talinum caffrum

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Talinum caffrum.
https://www.malawiflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=123100, retrieved 31 March 2023

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