Jewels of Opar Limon

Jewels of Opar, Talinum paniculata, is a native Central and North American edible plant similar to summer or Malabar spinach. The leaves of the Limon variety are bright green and the flowers form a spray of pink above them on long wiry stems, leading some to call them Pink Baby’s Breath. When the flowers fade, they are replaced by tiny, jewel-like fruits that resemble precious stones. 

Southern Seed Exposure first planted Jewels of Opar seeds in 2014 and much to their surprise, the tiny flowers fed pollinators and the edible leaves tasted “surprisingly” appealing (  

Jewels of Opar Limon is very easy to grow. We started with a single 4-inch pot 6 years ago and the seeds have made new plants every spring since then, with no effort on our part. They grow in full sun to part-shade and require minimal water. Almost any soil will do; rabbits, pests and diseases leave them alone except for a small nibble here or there.

Jewels of Opar is an old-fashioned garden plant. Edgar Rice Burroughs mentions Opar in 1913 in the second Tarzan book, “The Return of Tarzan” and then in 1916 he wrote “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”.

The seeds can be sown any time but are best sown in winter to early spring to get a cold snap in wet soil to break dormancy. Cover the seeds very thinly with sand to the depth of the seed size. They will come up in 6 to 12 weeks. 

The green part of the plant grows two-feet tall and becomes shrubby in appearance, though the stems remain soft. The stems and flowers add another 18-inches to the height. Ours have moved around the garden but are healthiest on a sunny edge in front of Hydrangeas and Astilbe.

Also called Fame Flower, Talinum paniculatum Limon is cold hardy in zones 6-9 and is a member of the Portulaceae or Purslane plant family. has seeds for $3.50.


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