Annual herbs to 10 cm tall. STEMS: spreading to erect. LEAVES: all cauline, linear to spatulate, 1.5-5 cm long. INFLORESCENCE: a panicle of umbellate clusters, up to 4 cm long; bracts leaf-like. FLOWERS: pedicellate; pedicels 1-5 mm; sepals scariousmargined, ovate, 2.5-5 mm long; petals 3-5, white, 2-5 mm long; stamens 5-10; stigmas 3, stalked. CAPSULE: with 3 valves, ovoid, 3-6 mm long, equal to or less than length of calyx. SEEDS: 6-15, black, smooth, shiny. Sand and gravel washes, rocky slopes, in desert scrub communities; La Paz, Mohave, Yuma cos.; 0 - 500 m (0 - 1700 ft); Feb-May; CA, Mex. REFERENCES: Allison Bair, Marissa Howe, Daniela Roth, Robin Taylor and Tina Ayers. 2006. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Portulacaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 1-22.
CANOTIA 2006, FNA 2004, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Herbaceous annuals, 3-18 cm tall, stems decumbent or spreading to erect, plants with fleshy leaves, stems, and roots, herbage smooth and hairless (glabrous), but not bluish and waxy (glaucous). Leaves: Alternate, linear or oblong-spatulate, 1.5-6 cm long, terete and fleshy with very obtuse tips, basal leaves not forming a basal rosette. Flowers: Very small, white, petals in groups of 3-5, 2-5 mm long, disarticulate in fruit, sepals 2, ovate, slightly unequal, 2-5 mm, herbaceous, glabrous with white-scarious margins, persistent, bracts leaf-like, stamens 5-10, anthers yellow, inflorescences compact, dense, with umbel-like lateral and terminal clusters, usually not exceeding leaves. Fruits: Capsules ovoid with obtuse tips, 1-4 mm long with 3 valves, longitudinally dehiscent. Seeds black, ovoid, 1-2 mm long, smooth, shiny, (reticulate at 30 ), 6-15 per capsule. Ecology: Found on sandy soils in washes and slopes, desert scrub communities, from 0-1,500 ft (0-457 m); flowering November-March. Distribution: Arizona, California; Mexico. Notes: Good indicators for this species are the fleshy herbage, the oblong-spatulate leaves with obtuse tips, and the white flowers of the compact inflorescences. Kearney and Peebles note this species occurs in the deserts of southwestern Arizona and southeastern California. The other species of Calandrinia occurring in Arizona, C. ciliata has rose red (or rarely white) flowers in loose, leafy terminal racemes and pubescent sepals. Ethnobotany: There is no use recorded for this species, but other species in this genus have uses. Synonyms: Calandrinia ambigua, Claytonia ambigua Editor: LCrumbacher 2012 Etymology: Cistanthe is presumably from the genus name Cistus and the Greek anthos, "flower", while ambigua means doubtful, of uncertain identity.