Is Purslane A Succulent

The widely distributed, highly variable common purslane, Portulaca oleracea, belongs to the Portulaceae family of plants. Despite probably having its origins in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, it had already reached North America by the time of the pre-Columbian era and was present in Europe by the late 16th century. It is now commonplace in most regions of the world, both tropical and temperate, and can be found in disturbed or waste areas including roadside ditches, flowerbeds, and cultivated fields. It has been farmed for food and medicine for almost 4,000 years and is still growing in many locations now.

It is regarded as being quite nutritive due to its unusually high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids (found only in fish and flax seeds), large amounts of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, as well as antioxidants. It should not be ingested in excess by people who are prone to developing kidney stones because it also contains significant amounts of oxalates (just like spinach does). It was once used as an ointment for burns and is occasionally administered to birds to lower the cholesterol in their eggs. Garden purslane, small hogweed, pusley, and wild portulaca are some of its other common names. In Mexico, it is known as verdolaga and in France, pourpier.

An herbaceous annual with succulent leaves and branches, purslane grows quickly. Even the seed leaves, which are rectangular, are succulent. The numerous reddish, silky stems that grow from a single taproot are usually prostrate and can create a mat that is up to three feet in diameter. The plant may grow relatively low or more erectly, reaching a height of 16 feet, depending on the amount of moisture available.

At stem joints, the alternate leaves are grouped together. Each leaf is quite meaty and can hold a lot of water when it is available. Each flat, green, oval to spoon-shaped leaf is devoid of indentations along the frequently reddish rim and is at its widest near the rounded tip. They are immediately linked to the stems and hardly ever have petioles.

When there is enough moisture, plants will bloom. The five (or four) notched petals, numerous yellow stamens, and numerous pistils that are grouped together in the center of the 1/4-1/2 inch wide yellow blooms. They only normally are open from mid-morning through early-afternoon on hot, sunny days. Just one bloom opens at a time in each cluster of leaves, and they grow in the leaf axils at the stem joints or terminally.

The plants are self-fertile, thus even while pollinators will visit the flowers, practically all of them will eventually produce a large number of tiny brown to black seeds in a little pod. When the seeds are ready to be released, the ovoid capsule ruptures along a transverse groove.

In practically any soil, from thick clay to muck high in organic matter, purslane can grow in full sun. Young plants will remain small and stunted in cool temperatures, and it thrives in warm weather. Despite preferring regular water, it can endure drought. It is simple to dig or hoe out undesired plants, but these plants should be taken out of the garden since cut stems from larger plants will quickly root at the nodes to become re-established, and seeds will mature in the pods even if the plant is withdrawn and left with its roots turned upward. In the soil, seeds can survive for many years. The plant will die if it receives its first fall freeze because it is frost-sensitive.

In a vegetable garden, purslane can be easily grown from seed and is ready for harvest in 6 to 8 weeks. Sow in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil, spacing seeds 4–6 apart. You can pick the entire plant or only the stems up to two inches from the crown, and the plant will grow back and produce edible leaves for the most of the summer (although successive sowings may be preferred for more tender young leaves). Water regularly when growing crops for human consumption since leaves from plants that are experiencing moisture stress do not taste as well. There aren’t many pests that affect purslane, although in some regions of the country, the purslane sawfly (Schizocerella pilicornis) and a leafminer weevil (Hypurus bertrandiperris) can harm or kill the plants.

Purslane is frequently consumed as a raw or cooked vegetable outside of North America. It occasionally appears in specialized shops or at farmer’s markets in the US.

A faint acidic or sour and salty flavor can be found in the stems, leaves, and flower buds. The physiology of the plant affects the flavor’s intensity. Purslane changes to photosynthesis in hot, dry conditions in order to save moisture through Crassulacean acid metabolism (C4). In this system, the leaves capture carbon dioxide at night and convert it to malic acid rather than during the day, when the regular photosynthetic process would cause valuable water to evaporate through transpiration. The sour-tasting malic acid is then transformed into glucose and stored for use throughout the day. Therefore, the tartest-tasting leaves are those that are plucked early in the day when malic acid concentrations are at their peak. Many branded varieties are grown as crops, but only a few number are offered in the US.

Around the world, purslane is used in a variety of dishes, particularly salads, soups, stews, and tomato sauces. Purslane thickens soups and stews when cooked because it turns mucilaginous. The seeds can be eaten as well. University of Wisconsin-Madison student Susan Mahr

Are purslane plants considered succulents?

In USDA growing zones 1011, the annual succulent Portulaca oleracea (common purslane, sometimes referred to as little hogweed or pursley) is actually a tropical perennial.

Purslane—is it a cactus?

Because it thrives in poor soil, purslane (Portulaca oleracea), an annual trailing plant, is grown worldwide. This plant was brought from India and Persia to North America as an invasive species. Pigweed, small hogweed, fatweed, and pusley are common names for purslane.

Even in the sweltering heat of July, purslane can be seen growing in the crevices of sidewalks and driveways.

Through spontaneous proliferation, it frequently appears in flowerbeds, gardens, fields, waste areas, and along the side of the road. most likely by the animal and bird droppings.

Depending on the heat, purslane blossoms begin to open around 9:00 in the morning and terminate at various points during the day.

Purslane To Save The World!…

The majority of India’s traditional medicinal systems employ purslane (Siddha, Ayurveda, and Unani Tibb). Children are given the plant’s entire juice to prevent stomach worms (hookworms).

The plant is consumed to prevent and treat lung, kidney, and liver disorders as well as scurvy (vitamin C deficiency).

The leaves are consumed to cure urinary issues, scurvy, and gonorrhea. Parasites can be fought off by tea brewed from the entire plant. Additionally, the leaves are externally administered to treat mastitis and skin conditions. The seeds have vermicide, diuretic, astringent, and demulcent properties (kill gastrointestinal worms).

Propagating Purslane

From late spring to late summer, the plump stalks’ tips bear the purslane blooms. On hot, sunny days, the flowers normally bloom from mid-morning through early-afternoon. Egg-shaped capsules produced by the blooms contain flattened, brown to black, egg-shaped or round seeds.

Planting Seeds

To break their natural winter dormancy, purslane seeds must be placed in damp sphagnum peat in a freezer bag and stored in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.

Usually, seeds are planted in peat pots with a commercial planting mix seven to eight weeks before the anticipated last frost date.

They should germinate in one to three weeks if kept in light at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the late spring, seedlings are planted outside 6 to 24 inches apart. When planted outdoors, it should be sown no deeper than 1/2 inch and in soil that is 90 degrees Fahrenheit.


From a single taproot, the flattened stems of purslane extend outward, occasionally producing broad mats. Purslane doesn’t require particular care in the form of watering or fertilizer once it begins to develop. It develops quickly on its own and blooms for three weeks or so.

Plants that are uprooted but left on the ground may start to grow anew. To prevent them from spreading, plants need to be manually plucked out.

Using a tiller to cut the purslane into pieces will merely allow each piece to start growing again.

Why Purslane Does Not Bloom…

Although purslane is a stunning, vivid plant, it can be disappointing and plain upsetting when portulaca has no blossoms.

If a Purslane plant doesn’t blossom, the growing environment may be problematic. Even though portulaca is a remarkable low-maintenance plant that prospers in neglect, it still needs a few things to flourish well.

Purslane favors arid, poorly drained soil. If portulaca doesn’t blossom, the soil can be too fertile or too wet. Although you can amend the soil with sand or a tiny bit of compost, it could be simpler to start over in a different place.

Even though purslane thrives under challenging environments, they nevertheless gain from regular hydration. During hot, dry weather, one deep watering per week generally suffices. However, if the soil drains easily, a little additional water won’t do any harm.

Intense heat and harsh sunlight are ideal for purslane growth. When there are no blossoms on the moss rose, too much shade may be to fault. Portulaca typically requires six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day.

While deadheading may be impossible when Purslane is in full flower, it is quite successful at encouraging new blooms on a plant that isn’t blooming well.

When aphids attack a Purslane plant in large numbers, they can cause havoc.

When a moss rose plant doesn’t bloom, spider mites, which prefer dry, dusty environments, may be to blame. The thin webbing that mites create on the foliage makes them simple to identify.

Applying insecticidal soap spray on a regular basis will effectively eradicate both pests. When temps are cool and the sun isn’t directly overhead, spray the plant in the morning or evening. We use a pump-up sprayer and Dawn dish soap.

Purslane ChowChow…

About 93 percent of this succulent plant is water. It features tiny, green leaves and scarlet stalks. It tastes somewhat sour or salty, like spinach and watercress. Similar to spinach and lettuce, it can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads and sandwiches.

A green, leafy vegetable known as purslane is edible both raw and cooked. The leaves, stalks, and flower buds are among the plant parts that can be eaten. This succulent works well as a garnish for salads, soups, stews, and other dishes.

It is used in soups and salads in the Mediterranean region and may have a number of health advantages. Its omega-3 fatty acids decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

It is frequently used in omelets, stews, and many other dishes in Mexico. The wilder types have a considerably richer flavor and are much more delicious. I’ve also heard folks say it tastes like spinach. Some claim it has a lemony flavor or is comparable to watercress.

The smallest yellow blossoms are seen on the greenest and wildest kind of portulaca. Most farmers consider it a dangerous weed and desire to get rid of it, although doing so is quite challenging. When you disturb the plants, it self-seeds. Golden purslane, or Portulaca sativa, is a favorite among chefs and is frequently found in herb gardens.

  • Beta-carotene is a source of 26 percent of the DV for vitamin A.
  • 35 percent of the DV for vitamin C.
  • 17 percent of the DV for magnesium.
  • 15 percent of the DV is manganese.
  • Potassium: 14% of the daily value.
  • 11 percent of the DV is iron.
  • 7 percent of the RDI for calcium.
  • Additionally, it has trace levels of folate, copper, phosphorus, folate, vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

As a result, it ranks among the foods with the highest nutrient density, measured in terms of calories.

  • The thick-leaved, low-spreading weed known as purslane that encroaches on flowerbeds and vegetable gardens is well known to gardeners.
  • Originating in India and Persia, common purslane (Porulaca oleracea) has spread around the globe.

Is purslane in my yard safe to eat?

In the majority of the world, purslane may be easily found outdoors in the spring and summer. The plant is frequently seen growing between cracks in the sidewalk or in neglected gardens because it reproduces readily and can withstand challenging growing conditions.

All parts of the purslane plant, including the leaves, stems, and flowers, are edible. To ensure that there are no pesticides on the leaves when preparing wild purslane, it is crucial to thoroughly wash the plant.

The tangy and mildly salty flavor of purslane makes it a fantastic addition to salads and other foods. You can eat it cooked or uncooked. The broth thickens wonderfully when it is added to stews and soups.