Rock Pink (Fame Flower)

Photo of two magenta flowers of a rock pink plant
Scientific Name
Phemeranthus calycinus (formerly Talinum calycinum)
Portulacaceae (purslanes)

Succulent perennial with slender, naked flower stalks. Flowers in open, terminal groups, with 2 sepals shed at opening, 5 deep pink to purplish red petals, and many stamens. Flowers do not open until about noon, even on sunny days. Blooms May–August. Leaves basal, fleshy, round in cross-section, awl-like, to 2 inches long. Root a thick rhizome, like a miniature German iris root.

Similar species: Small (or prairie) fame flower (P. parviflorus) has shorter leaves, smaller flowers, and fewer stamens (usually 4–8).


Height: to 1 foot.

Where To Find
image of Rock Pink Fame Flower distribution map

Generally found south of the Missouri River, but cultivated statewide.

Occurs in rocky glades and sandstone and chert outcroppings with acid soils. Often grows in large colonies, with plants growing out of rock crevices without apparent soil. This plant is sometimes called "flower-of-an-hour" because its flowers often don't open until the afternoon.

A good native plant for sunny rock gardens, but it doesn't compete well with robust, taller vegetation. Rock pink is in the same family (purslanes) as the well-known garden flower called "moss rose" or "portulaca."

Plants can have many adaptations that help them survive in glades and other hot, dry places. This plant has succulent leaves that store water, with a waxy outer surface that reduces water loss. The limited flowering time is also a strategy for maximizing pollination while minimizing evaporation.

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Similar Species
About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!