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Colourful Succulents

Often adding bright splashes of colour to arid landscapes after rain are carpets of parakeelya flowers (members of the genus Calandrinia). These small herbs with fleshy leaves typically emerge only after rain, often becoming superabundant. They reproduce rapidly, with their showy, nectar-containing flowers attracting a variety of insect pollinators. The rest of the time they exist only as tiny seeds on the ground, remaining dormant through the dry years.

Genetic work shows that Calandrinia has been in Australia a long time, probably entering via South America and Antarctica around the time Australia split from Antarctica some 33 million years ago. They then probably evolved in Western Australia, where the majority of species are found, before moving east and south.