Red Maids;  Calandrinia ciliata

Early Bloomer.  Five small, round red-pink petals, low growing in open areas.  Seeds and foliage edible, blooms only in bright sunlight.

Notes: Purslane family.  Blooms only in the sun, and are scarcely noticeable when closed.  The tiny black seeds were prized by the Maidu as a food source; as in many of the purslanes (e.g. Miner’s Lettuce) the leaves are tasty.  Seeds are also eaten by birds.  The genus Calandrinia has about 150 species.  J. L. Calandrini was an 18th century Swiss botanist.  Ciliata means ‘fringed’ in reference to the fine hairs on the edges of the sepals.

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Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
    Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
        Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
            Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
                Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
                    Subclass Caryophyllidae
                        Order Caryophyllales
                            Family Portulacaceae -- Purslane family
                                Genus Calandrinia Kunth -- redmaids
                                    Species Calandrinia ciliata (Ruiz & Pavón) DC.  
                                    -- fringed redmaids

Red Maids  (Calandrinia ciliata)

Red Maids  (Calandrinia ciliata), closer view

Red Maids  (Calandrinia ciliata), extreme close-up