It has been proposed, Hershkovitz, M. A. 1998. Parakeelya: a new genus segregated from Calandrinia (Portulacaceae) (Phytologia) 84:101; that the Australian members of the genus Calandrinia should be transferred to the genus Parakeelya. Whilst this proposal has been accepted by some authorities (including the GRIN database) most authorities (including various Australian Flora) are continuing to use Calandrinia. For the time being (2016), we are also maintaining these species within the genus Calandrinia[
Parakeelya balonensis (Lindl.) Hershk.
Calandrinia balonensis is a succulent, annual to short-lived perennial plant. It produces a basal rosette of leaves and erect flowering stems up to 30cm long[
The plant was a common food of the native Australians, and is still sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
The plant contains oxalic acid, so it should only be used in moderation[
]. 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[
Australia - South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory
Arid areas, often around salt lakes[
]. sandy soils in arid regions[
Calandrinia balonensis is found in warm temperate to sub-tropical areas of Australia, generally in semi-arid to arid climates. It is not very tolerant of frost, especially in moister climates, though it sould be possible to grow the plant as a tender annual. In frosty climates this species can become a self-sowing annual, the seed germinating in spring[
Prefers a hot sunny situation on a poor dry sandy soil[
]. This plant lends itself readily to cultivation and will easily thrive in the ground or pot with well-drained, airy soil and loves a dry, sunny location[
Plants are intolerant of root disturbance, they are best treated as half-hardy annuals and sown in situ in late spring[
Plants have a long season of flowering[
Leaves - raw. The leaves contain oxalic acid and so some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Seed - raw or ground into a meal[
]. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest, especially since it ripens intermittently over a period of several weeks[
Root - raw or cooked[
Seed - best sown in situ in spring since it strongly resents root disturbance. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 weeks at 20°c[
In frost-free climates plants can also be propagated by means of cuttings.