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PlantFiles: Wild Portulaca, Purslane, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, Pusley, Verdolaga
Portulaca oleracea

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Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca (por-tew-LAK-uh) (Info)
Species: oleracea (awl-lur-RAY-see-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Portulaca neglecta
Synonym:Portulaca oleracea subsp. oleracea
Synonym:Portulaca retusa

One vendor has this plant for sale.

30 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Category:
Annuals

Height:
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

Spacing:
6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Hardiness:
Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Foliage:
Herbaceous
Smooth-Textured
Succulent

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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Profile:

12 positives
2 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive ohmygdb On Jul 19, 2013, ohmygdb from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

It is amazing that after 43 years of living in Phoenix, AZ I am just learning about this plant (WEED). The amazing nutritional value & Omega 3 content. I have pulled this plant out of my tree basins more times than I can remember. I am now cultivating it for my chickens to eat.

Positive natureguyfrog On Feb 20, 2012, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

Yes this entry is THE edible wild purslane!
There are several pictures under this entry that are DEFINITELY NOT P. oleraceae!

The pictures with the vivid, large colored flowers AND narrow leaves are the annual "Moss Rose" or "Rose Moss", P. grandiflora originally from South America. They have been available to gardeners since well towards the beginning of the last century if not before.

The pictures with large yellow flowers or those of multiple colors with leaves that are very similar to P. oleraceae most likely are P. umbraticola "Wildfire Hybrids" often sold as P. oleraceae or P. grandiflora.

I know of three types of P. oleraceae grown for food. It is possible that there are other varieties or subspecies (P. oleraceae sativa) that are involved with these types.

"WILD PURSLANE" which is prostrate in some conditions and more upright in others (with ample water and pinching or partial harvesting of leaves and stems). This type is possibly originally from India but has been established in many countries in the last few hundreds to thousands of years and used as an herb for at least that long! There are most likely different forms that may vary in one way or another even as a wild type given its very widespread distribution.

"RED GRUNER" is a vigorous upright form with thick reddish stems and large rounded leaves. The flower is also larger than the wild type.

"GOLDEN PURSLANE" is also upright with yellowish green to light green leaves. Not as vigorous as the other type.

Another "Purslane" is "MINERS LETTUCE" Claytonia lanceolata with its initial strap-like leaves and then the "parasol" leaf-like structure with the spikes of tiny white flowers in the center. A very good cool season "weed" to have around!

All three of these P. oleraceae and "Miners Lettuce" re-seed themselves quite readily from tiny black seeds.

The other "purslanes" that come up on this site or other web pages are ornamental plants that may not even be in the same family (Portulacaceae)! For example the large shrubby Elephants Food (Portulacaria...not Portulaca, in the family Didieraceae!) is a succulent that looks like a small leaved Jade plant (Crassula) both of which have gone wild here in San Diego. There is a selection of Portulacaria afra that is PROSTRATE which at first glance... looks like a large Portulaca olereaceae! YES... it can get VERY confusing!

P. olereaceae is one of those plants that is delicious enough to eat as-is when "browsing" through the garden or as others have described in their posts here!

Anyhow...the wild purslane happens to be a plant with the highest level of omega-3 fatty acid of any leafy plant! I am not sure the same level of this fatty acid exists in the garden types... I believe the evaluation I viewed was of the wild type...but I may be wrong. Otherwise flax seed (from Linum usitassisimum) is the highest plant source for this fatty acid.

Go you vegetarians! With the use of whole flax seed or flax seed flour and wild purslane...who needs fish oil?! (recent evidence suggests that fish oil may have cancer causing effect... so what DOES NOT cause cancer?)

Consider yourself lucky if you have this highly nutritious "weed" in your lawn, garden or even in the potted nursery plant you just purchased!!!

There are other EDIBLE LAWN WEEDS. Check out http://www.ppaf.org or http://www.edibleplantproject.org. There is an article at one of these sites for "The Edible Lawn". You would be surprised how many WEEDS are nutritious and valuable herbs. Through all history as humans populate new localities they bring with them many valuable herbs... that is how and why so many WEEDS exist!!! Any books about indigenous populations of people's use of plants will often describe many familiar plants as useful herbs. There is a lot of info like this out there!

Positive eclayne On Dec 7, 2010, eclayne from East Longmeadow, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

Portulaca oleracea, Purslane or Glistritha, pronounced ghlee-STREE-thah (hard "th" sound) has been used in Greek cooking for millenia. Try Googling Purslane + Greek. Pliny advised wearing the plant as an amulet to expel all evil due to its healing properties. My Aunt, born on Crete, called it (and seemingly half of the other yard weeds) Horta. I called it rabbit food. Today I "encourage", allow! it to grow amongst the callas and EEars and get a great salad add-in free.

Neutral Poetinwood On Aug 19, 2010, Poetinwood from Council Hill, OK wrote:

The purslane from the vendor listed at the top, Territorial Seed, does not sell the wild purslane, but Golden purslane.

Positive maam On Jun 15, 2010, maam from Chester, CT wrote:

once i learned how nutritious this plant is, i stopped weeding it. thus it becomes a living mulch under most of my vegetables, and grows more upright in the shade to allow easier harvesting. this seems to have no ill effects on tomatoes, peppers, squash, or sweet potatoes. i've frozen it for winter soups, or add it as a thickener in tomato sauces without any added flavor. maam in zone 6, ct.

Neutral Phytowarrior On Nov 4, 2008, Phytowarrior from Brisbane
Australia wrote:

Portulaca oleracea is one of the richest source of non-fish EPA Essential Fatty acids (Omega 3's) on earth.

The entire plant is edible and can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled and has a mild acid taste & a fatty/mucilaginous quality.

Negative figaro52 On Jul 11, 2008, figaro52 from Oak Lawn, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

A noxious weed. In my garden I call it the "scourge of summer"!

Negative Malus2006 On Feb 18, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I consider this weed on the 10 worst weed for me. They loves to appear where there are sun in my yard and anywhere there are a little exposured soil. Carpetweed is also a co- conspiracy weed that grows along with Weedy Purslane.

Positive Yorkerjenny On Feb 17, 2008, Yorkerjenny from Syracuse, NY wrote:

What a wonderful suprise it was when I saw for the first time on backyard! It's one of my favorite vegetables ever. They are so delicious, I mix them with hybrid purslane when I cook. Last year I collected their seeds. They are very easy to grow, actually just throw the seeds to soil, little bit water, then forget it. They continuously grow. Their branches parallel to ground, leaves dark green and small, steams are purple, flowers are small yellow. Evening time flowers close, in the mornings open again. In the tip of the leaves there are few green capsules. the top half drops and many very thinny black seeds drop to ground and grow. If you see them as weed, you better get rid of them before those capsules open. Otherwise, you'll have many more. And wind will spread them easily.
I saw them in Syracuse NY (a city close to Canada border) and in Fort Myers FL. They are good for spring or fall, they can't handle very hot sunny days. They melt if you give too much water or in very rainy climate.
They cross very easily if you grow hybrid purslane. The result is upright purslane, with purple steam and lighter green leaves.
For me, wild purslane is a lot more tastier than hybrid purslane. More sour and intense taste. Eventually they are heirloom!!! It's one of the free foods from garden.
2 recipes:
purslane salad:
the tender tip of purslanes
some olive oil
some vinegar
salt
1 glove crush garlic (optional)
I think this recipe from Bulgaria.

purslane dish:
1 pound purslane
1/4 pound ground beef
1 med onion
2 paste tomato or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 sunflower oil or canola oil
2 tablespoon short rice
salt, water

Put chopped ground beef, chopped onion and oil to a pan. When ground beef turns to brown, add chopped purslane, diced tomato or tomato paste, rice, salt, and water. Try to slow cook and add water as much less as possible.
Beside, it's so delicious, it's said also cholestrol reducer. It's said it has very high level omega 3.

Positive IslandJim On Jun 25, 2006, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like this tasty little salad plant. It's also great sauted with ground meat and tomatoes. And it is a valuable plant in erosion control. If it didn't volunteer, I'd probably plant it.

Positive Sherlock_Holmes On Jun 25, 2006, Sherlock_Holmes from Millersburg, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

In added support of this plant that many people unfortunately classify as a garden pest, though not among most of the people of this group, I wanted to leave the following narrative from The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America by Francois Couplan, Ph.D.

"Portulaca oleracea, originally from the tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World, is a common weed in North America. It has been used as a vegetable for over 2,000 years in India and Persia. Purslane is cultivated as a salad plant or potherb in Asia, Europe, and South America.

Leaves and stems are fleshy and slightly acid. They are edible raw, preferably mixed with other greens because of their mucilaginous texture. The plant can be used as a thickener for soups and stews. It is excellent in omelettes and can also be pickled.

Purslane contains vitamins A, B, and C, minerals (much iron), and mucilage. It is emollient, depurative, diuretic, and refrigerant.

The tiny seeds have often been used as food either cooked whole or ground into a meal. They can be gathered by picking the plant before maturity and letting it dry out on a baking sheet for a week or so. The capsules ripen, and the seeds can be extracted by threshing and winnowing.

Other species are eaten in Asia, Australia, Polynesia, and South America."

Negative Joan On Feb 9, 2006, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have the wild kind growing everywhere, and reseeds all over the place. It's one of my worst weeds. It's easy enough to pull, but there's so much of it every year. I think the seeds blow in from the neighboring pastures and fields.

Negative ponton On Oct 4, 2005, ponton from Victoria
Afghanistan, Islamic State of wrote:

Wild pursalane has come up all over this town, in flower beds, cracks in sidewalks, and I have yet to hear a positive comment on it. Never saw it before this year (2005)

Positive Xenomorf On Oct 26, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The wild weed type also goes by the name of 'verdolaga' in the grocery stores.

Positive hanna1 On Oct 13, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love it's large flowers! mine are red, and it is very easy to gather seeds, I wonder if I will be able to grow it from seed.

Positive htop On Sep 12, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS A DESCRIPTION OF WILD PURSLANE NOT THE HYBRIDS USED AS GARDEN PLANTS. NEUTRAL RATING

The name "Portulaca" is a derivative of "portare" (Latin) which means to carry and lac (milk) which refers to the plant's milky sap. Meaning pertaining to kitchen gardens, "oleracea" (Latin) is a reference to its use as a vegetable. It is an herbaceous weed commonly known as purslane in the U.S. It is found growing wild and/or cultivated in much of the world in almost any unshaded area in cold, warm and/or hot climates.

The small, yellow, almost nonsignificant flowers are up to .25 inches in diameter and appear in late spring and continue into mid fall. The flowers are open only part of the day and do not open fully on very cloudy days, like all portulaca. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod the lid of which opens when the seeds are ready and a single plant can produce more than 50,000 seeds.

The reason it is valued above a common weed is its edibility. Early settlers cooked it as a substitute for spinach, used the young leaves and stem tips in salads and ate the seeds. The seeds may be ground and baked into a bread. It has been used as a medicinal plant for a variety of ailments for hundreds of years. It contains a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein (2 to 2.5%) compared to other vegetables. In fact, it is a better nutrient source than spinach.

When giving this plant a neutral rating, I am being kind due to its nutritional value. Otherwise, I would give it a negative rating because I consider it a weed in my flowerbeds. It is easy to pull, but pieces of stem can reroot readily. It keeps coming up in cracks in the street asphalt and has to be dug out with a screwdriver or knife. It can be chemically controlled using a pre-emergence herbicide containing oryzalin or pendimethalin.

HYBRID PURSLNE VARIETIES POSITIVE RATING
These varieties of purslane are a maintstay of my summer plantings. They reseed thmselves every year and provide continuous bright colored blooms. They require little care and are drought tolerant.

Positive desertpete On Jul 18, 2003, desertpete from Odessa, TX wrote:

I live in West Texas where it is very hot and dry. Purslane seems to thrive here. The birds eat my moss roses down to the numb, but don't seem to bother the purslane. It blooms it's little heart out until frost.

Positive ebob On Apr 3, 2003, ebob wrote:

Purslane is an excellent plant. The wild form is a formidable pest for farmers in the midwest. When I worked on a small farm in Wisconsin, purslane covered our beds in between our vegetable crops. However, some have conquered this by raising it as a food crop! The wild and cultivated forms are both edible, with a delightful slimy texture and sour flavor. The wild purslane does not grow the large and colorful flowers of the cultivated variety. Purslane reminds me of the Jade plant.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Elberta, Alabama
Gurley, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Benton, Arkansas
Chino Hills, California
North Fork, California
Ontario, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Golden, Colorado
Chester, Connecticut
Big Pine Key, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Holiday, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Interlachen, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Kathleen, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Largo, Florida
Marathon, Florida
Milton, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sebring, Florida (2 reports)
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Cochran, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Milledgeville, Georgia
Royston, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Kurtistown, Hawaii
Jacksonville, Illinois
Oak Lawn, Illinois
South Bend, Indiana
Sioux City, Iowa
Parsons, Kansas
Dawson Springs, Kentucky
Tompkinsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Denham Springs, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
Slidell, Louisiana
Westlake, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Aberdeen, Maryland
Glen Burnie, Maryland
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Central Lake, Michigan
Mosherville, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Long Beach, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Bellevue, Nebraska
Roswell, New Mexico
Syracuse, New York
Henderson, North Carolina
Lucama, North Carolina
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Wilsons Mills, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Bucyrus, Ohio
Council Hill, Oklahoma
Owasso, Oklahoma
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Coos Bay, Oregon
Gold Hill, Oregon
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Columbia, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Georgetown, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas
Lumberton, Texas
Midlothian, Texas
Odessa, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Victoria, Texas



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