Phemeranthus (Talinum) auranticum

Orange Fame Flower - Phemeranthus (Talinum) auranticum
East of Hillsboro
New Mexico, USA

Orange Fame Flower, Phemeranthus auranticum (formerly placed in the genus Talinum), is sometimes called Flame Flower.  Given its wonderful color, that is, perhaps, a more descriptive name.  Prior to Rebecca pointing this flower out to me I had not seen the species.  We were on an early morning walk down Percha Creek to the Box and were crossing one of the bluffs along the stream (which was full of water, the type of event which sometimes happens during the monsoons) when she spotted the specimen shown here.  She noted that she had seen it only on a couple of occasions previously.  That immediately caught my attention, if she had not seen it frequently then it was not to be seen.  I am not prone to notice such things, but then, I am not the botanist of the family.  One of the reasons we may not have been seeing it is that in previous years we had been taking our walks in the afternoon.  This species blooms in the morning and the flower will generally wither by early afternoon.

This species is cold tolerant to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or so, likes full sun, and prefers soil which is on the alkaline side of things.

Orange Fame Flower has fleshy roots which were used as a food source by the indigenous people of the United States.

This plant is probably P. a. angustissimum.  Charles (Carlos) Wright collected the type specimen of this subspecies in October, 1849 in what is now New Mexico (at that time part of Mexico - so records show the type specimen from Mexico).  At one time this subspecies was considered a separate species but has been lumped with P. auranticum because it is strongly clinal across its range.  

In the "Report Upon United States Geographical Survey West of the One Hundredth Meridian Vol. VI - Botany" (Wheeler - 1878), describes the species as follows (pp. 72-73):

I look forward to seeing more of this species on our morning walks.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023