Plants of
South Australia
Calandrinia sphaerophylla
Bead Purslane
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Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1

Prior names

Parakeelya sphaerophylla


Calandrinia named after Jean-Louis Calandrini (1703-1758), a Swiss scientist, professor of mathematics and philosophy. Sphaerophylla from the Greek 'sphaira' meaning a ball and 'phylla' meaning a leaf, referring to its globular succulent leaves.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and known only from a few collections from the Nullarbor and the Eyre Peninsula. Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Nullarbor, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Minute prostrate or erect annual herb to 2 cm high. Leaves basal and on flower stems; sessile, obovoid, to 5 mm long and 3 mm wide, fleshy, reddish colour. Inflorescence short loose panicles with small white to pale-pink flowers. Flowering between September and November. Fruits are red-brown ovoid capsule to 2.5 mm long with 3-valves.ovoid, as long as the sepals or slightly longer. Seeds are shiny dark brown to red-brown reniform-ovoid seed to 0.5 mm diameter, with a tuberculate surface. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect mature capsules that are turning a red-brown colour and contain dark seeds. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.