Common Purslane

Portulaca oleracea

Plant Monograph by bronzedragon 2

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a very common annual plant that has succulent leaves. The plant can reach up to 40 cm (16 in) high, but is usually a groundcover. It has a reddish-green stem and yellow flowers that are 6 mm (0.24 in) wide.(1) The flowers bloom three weeks after the plant sprouts. The leaves cluster around the stem joints, ends, and sometimes on the stem. Normally the stems and leaves are alternate. The seed pod is cone-shaped when it is closed, but when it is opened, it looks like a tiny cup with almost microscopic black seeds. Purslane can make 101,625 to 242,540 seeds per season, and seeds can be viable for 40 years.(3) Purslane’s roots are taproots and if it uprooted, it can re-root.
Purslane lives on every continent except for Antarctica. (4) It originated in India and Persia and spread throughout the world. (2) Purslane beat Columbus to North America. Purslane seeds were found in the United States, dating from 1,000 B.C. (3) Purslane has naturalized all over North America. It is considered invasive in the southwestern quarter of the United States. Purslane loves disturbed dry soil but can tolerate almost any kind of soil. It prefers sunny places.
Purslane is used by people in a wide range of ways. The most common use is for food. Purslane has a lot of beta carotene and has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other green plant. (6) In my opinion, purslane tastes a little bit lemony and very good. It is best eaten raw, a little bit cooked or extremely cooked. Purslane also has a lot of medicinal uses. The main uses are to help heal insect or snake bites. Also it is good for curing boils and sores. (1) Purslane is a very useful and amazing plant.

References

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca_oleracea
2. https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/030726.html
Sandra Mason, Extension Educator, Horticulture, slmason@illinois.edu
3. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1071&context=agronhortdiss
9-9-2013, Biology and Control of Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), Christopher Proctor, Doctoral Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, caproctor@huskers.unl.edu
4. Center for Agriculture and Biosciences International, Invasive Species Compendium, http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/43609
5. Biota of North America Program http://bonap.net/MapGallery/County/Portulaca%20oleracea.png
6. http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/recipes/sns-food-recipes-sides-purslane-story.html

by Lucas, age 10 3

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) James Bailey, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/2329582
  2. (c) bronzedragon, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  3. (c) albuquerqueherbalism, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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