Jewels of Opar (Fameflower)
Edible succulent green foliage with attractive sprays of pink star-shaped flowers followed by bright red-orange jewel-like seed pods that eventually burst and self-sow easily. Many use the flowers in late summer and autumn bouquets. The leaves are edible like Malabar Spinach, and the seeds are tiny but a great source of omega-3s. The blooms attract and feed many pollinators.
Named for Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1916 book "Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar."
Days to maturity: 40
Seeds per pack: 100
Germination rate: 45% on 02/12/2021 (below standard)
Planting / harvesting notes
These drought- and heat-tolerant plants prefer full sun/partial shade. Some say to sow these indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting, to harden them off, and to transplant on a cloudy day. Starting them indoors allows them to grow larger to better out compete faster growing spring weeds . Some say to sow them in later winter/spring directly in the garden to break winter dormancy. Others say to sow them after the soil has warmed above 60 degrees. Once you have them, they will self sow easily and you will find them around your gardens for years to come.
Seed keeping notes
After flowering, round orange seed pods will gradually form on the stems. As the pods start to bend towards the soil, it signals that they are about to explode and distribute their seeds widely. Harvest these stems before too many pods explode, and lay them out to continue maturing. Place a paper or sheet above the seed pods so that they do not explode their seeds all over your home. After a week or two, whack the stalks against the side of a bucket to release more seeds, and strain them from the plant material.