- Low growing plant produces green leaves.
- Used in salads and cooked like spinach.
- Purslane is also effective in treatment for oral lichen planus
- Leaves treat insect or snake bites on the skin, boils, sores, pain from bee stings, bacillary dysentery, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, postpartum bleeding, and intestinal bleeding.
- Plant grows in poor soil and tolerates drought
You can store the leaves and stems wrapped in a cotton cloth or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to a week. They can last a few days longer if you don’t wash them first before tossing them in the fridge.
Day to Maturity: 60 days
Pack Size: 100/400 Seeds
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When I told my husband I was planting purslane in the garden, I suspect he thought I’d lost my mind. No doubt he was thinking back to the years when I fought furiously to tug the tenacious weed from my garden beds. These days, I know better. Portulaca oleracea is a delicious, versatile green that – as you might have guessed, given that it’s considered a weed – practically grows without any help at all.
In fact, you might find the hardest part of cultivating this tangy green is keeping it from growing a little too well. There are lots of things you can do to ensure a rewarding harvest, including selecting the right time of day to pluck the leaves for the best flavor.
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P. oleracea is an annual succulent that has been considered both a useless weed and a powerful medicinal plant at different times throughout history. Also known as little hogweed, pigweed, fatweed, and pusley, it’s gained recognition in US popular culture more recently for being a nutritional powerhouse. Purslane contains lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – it even has seven times more beta carotene than carrots.
umbraticola) and moss rose (P. grandiflora). Rather than being grown for food or medicine, these species are often cultivated for their flowers. The perennial wingpod type has green, rounded leaves, reddish stems, and yellow blossoms while the annual moss rose is a desert plant, often with spiky leaves, that may produce flowers in a variety of colors.
The leaves taste slightly citrusy and salty, with a peppery kick not unlike arugula, but with a juicier crunch to it. Its small yellow flowers have five petals and yellow stamens. The plants blossom from midsummer through early fall, at which point the flowers are fertilized and then produce seeds.
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The calls it a “noxious weed,” and in some regions its cultivation is limited or prohibited. Don’t let that put you off (unless you have reason to, depending on where you live!). Purslane is also widely considered a “superfood” that’s popping up in fine dining and farm-to-table restaurants across the country.
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I think cultivated purslane has a less bitter, sweeter flavor. Cultivated plants, which grow in 5-10, usually have larger leaves and grow in a more upright form. That’s handy, come harvest time. Purslane is typically propagated from seed, but you can also grow it from stem cuttings, divisions, or transplants.
If you buy purslane seeds to get started, you’ll likely never need to buy them again, since one plant can produce over 50,000 seeds through the course of its lifetime. You can direct sow this vigorous green outdoors, after the last frost has passed and soil temperatures reach about 60°F.
Don’t cover them, as they need light to germinate. Seedlings take seven to 10 days to sprout after planting. Once they’ve sprouted and have formed a few true leaves, thin them to 8 inches apart. You can also at least three weeks before the last frost. Transplant them after they’ve grown one set of true leaves and all risk of frost has passed.
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To do this, put them in a sheltered area like a patio, and gradually expose them to an additional hour of sun each day for a week. Keep young seedlings away from wind and prolonged sun exposure during this phase. It’s not only the number of seeds it produces that makes purslane such a good spreader.
To propagate from stem cuttings, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut a 6-inch-long stem from the parent plant. Remove the leaves from the bottom half. Plant the stem in potting soil with half of the stem buried underground. Place in an area with bright, indirect light, and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
You can actually get away with cutting 1-inch pieces of the stem and burying them entirely, 1/4 inch deep directly in the garden. In a few weeks, you’ll start to see new plants popping out of the soil. I’ve yet to have a single cutting fail when I planted them this way.
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As you’d expect, this vigorous plant is a piece of cake to transplant. Dig it up with a trowel, making sure to keep the roots and stems attached. Dig a new hole twice the size of the rootball. Place the uprooted plant in the hole, setting it no deeper than it was planted previously, and fill the hole back in with dirt.
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These plants aren’t picky about soil, as you may have noticed, given the fact that they grow readily in sidewalk cracks and on the side of the road. For best results, plant in average quality soil that’s well-draining, with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. You’ll get larger, juicier plants by growing in loamy, porous soil than you will in compact, poor earth.
When it comes to fertilizing, you have permission to be lazy. Purslane doesn’t need anything, though a bit of compost worked into the soil when planting is never a bad idea. Watering is another area where you don’t need to overdo it. This heat-loving plant will die if it gets too much water, but providing even and consistent moisture will give you a leafier, more robust harvest.
To see if your plant has the right amount of moisture, stick your finger into the soil. If it’s dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time to water. To avoid problems with fungus, water at ground level rather than overhead. To keep it from taking over your garden, trim the plant back to 2 inches above the soil, or harvest it entirely before it flowers.
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Mulch slows the spread of purslane by blocking sunlight that’s required for the seeds to germinate, and some types of mulch – like black walnut – contain chemicals that inhibit growth. You can also grow purslane in containers, where it can thrive quite happily since it doesn’t require daily waterings.
Those seeds just want to grow! Purslane microgreens are tart and juicy. I grow them year-round on my windowsill, and because they grow so quickly, I have a constant supply on hand. Photo by Kristine Lofgren. Use a seed tray or other flat, wide container, and fill it with potting mix at least 1/2 inch deep.
Place in a sunny area where the temperature is consistently about 75°F, or use a heat mat to keep seeds warm. Keep the soil moist until they sprout, which will take about a week. After that, allow just the surface of the soil to dry out between waterings. Once the greens emerge from the soil with their first leaves, also known as cotyledons, you can dig in.
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The typical garden variety, common purslane (species P. oleracea) grows low along the ground and spreads up to 18 inches once mature. You can find seeds available . A cultivar of P. oleracea var. sativa, ‘Golden’ purslane has tender yellow-green leaves and grows to a mature size of about 10 inches tall.
P. oleracea ‘Goldgelber’ matures in 26 days, and spreads up to 12 inches wide. It grows to be about 6 inches tall when mature. You can find ‘Goldgelber’ seeds . P. oleracea ‘Gruner Red’ has pink-tinted stems, much like the common purslane you have probably pulled as a weed. It has thick, oval-shaped, green leaves of about an inch long, and a mature size of up to 12 inches tall.
It doesn’t typically attract or succumb to many pests or diseases that you’ll need to battle, though there are a few things to watch out for: You may encounter purslane blotchmine sawfly, Schizocerella pilicornis, the leaf-mining larvae of which nibble tunnels through the leaves of plants. These may leave black or blotchy telltale marks on the leaves, and a severe infestation can destroy an entire crop.
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The 1/2-inch-long black or dark-colored adults may be difficult to spot since they typically only live for about a day, and the larvae spend most of their time feeding inside rather than on the surfaces of leaves before they travel down to the ground to burrow in the soil and pupate.
It’s often found in hemp fields, since they tend to be full of purslane as well, growing as a weed. If you do see larvae or evidence that they have been feeding on your plants, remove any bugs that you can by hand, and apply around plants. Leaves with mining damage can be squished between your fingers to kill the larvae, or removed and disposed of as an extra precaution.
The larvae of Hypurus bertrandi weevils are tiny leaf-mining grubs that may chew tunnels through the leaves of your plants. , feeding on the edges and surfaces of leaves as well as the stems and developing seed pods, but this causes only a fraction of the damage that feeding larvae are capable of.
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This infection typically only happens if you overwater your plants or live in a moist climate. You’ll notice black lesions on the stems that may spread to the leaves. You can use a sulfur or copper-based fungicide if the disease starts to spread to the leaves. I find that a regular application of neem oil will take care of a mild case of fungus that only causes a few small spots on the stems.
The time of day that you harvest the plant will impact its flavor. In the morning, , making the leaves taste more tart. In the evening, they contain less of this acid and are a bit sweeter. Experiment to see what you prefer. To harvest, snip a section of the plant with sharp scissors and immediately put it in a cool spot.
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Or, you can harvest as much of the plant as you want at a time, so long as you leave about 2 inches of the plant growing above the soil, and it will come back as long as it’s warm enough. When I’m making a big salad, I’ll go outside with a pair of scissors and trim the entire plant, leaving several inches at the base to regrow.
You can store the leaves and stems wrapped in a cotton cloth or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to a week. They can last a few days longer if you don’t wash them first before tossing them in the fridge. If you don’t plan to use your greens right away – which happened to me when I decided to tackle a particularly large patch of the wild variety in my garden one year – you can also dry them.
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Because they have so much water in them, it’s best to pluck the leaves off the stems and lay them in a single layer on a rack or cookie sheet. Then, using a food dehydrator or oven set to 135°F, dry them until they’re brittle. At this point, you can use them as a dried herb in your cooking, or blend them up to make a powder to add to soups and smoothies.
While the juicy leaves and stems contain mostly water, it’s also rich in vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium, iron, and potassium. This veggie has a mild enough flavor when fresh that it pairs well with a variety of ingredients, from , , and to eggs and fish.
To make a quick pickle, just chop the leaves and fill a jar. Bring your choice of vinegar brine to a boil (I like a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and pickling spices), and pour it over the leaves to cover. Screw the lid on tightly, and refrigerate for about a week before using.
I also like to add handfuls of fresh or sauteed leaves to soups just before serving. I find chilled cucumber purslane soup to be particularly refreshing when it’s hot out. In the summer, you could also try stuffing trout with fresh purslane leaves before roasting in the oven with butter and lemon.
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My best advice when using purslane in your kitchen is to either eat it raw, or cook it completely. If you only partially roast or boil it, it takes on a slimy texture, similar to okra. Purslane has been touted throughout history for its medicinal qualities. Today, that it can help to reduce uterine bleeding.
A small clinical trial found improvement in pulmonary function when purslane was used to treat asthma. And in December 2000 by K. Chan, et al., indicated that it’s useful when used topically as an anti-inflammatory. It can also hasten wound healing, according to in October 2003 by A.N. Rashed, F.U.
Disi. At my house, I like to steep the dried leaves in olive oil for several days to make a salve, and then apply it topically as needed when my skin is irritated from the winter cold or summer heat. Plant Type: Annual herb Tolerance: Drought, heat Native To: Southeast Asia, southeast Europe Water Needs: Low Hardiness (USDA Zone): 5-10 Maintenance: Low Season: Summer Soil Type: Average to poor Exposure: Full sun Soil pH: 5.5-7.5 Time to Maturity: 50 days Soil Drainage: Well-draining Spacing: 8 inches Attracts: Bees, birds, butterflies Planting Depth: 1/2 inch Companion Planting: Basil, carrots, corn, lettuce, radish, turnip.
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Looking for to grow in your garden? Check out these articles next: Photos by Kristine Lofgren © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Burpee and True Leaf Market. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu. The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure.
Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness. Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening lover from outside Portland, Oregon. She was raised in the Utah desert, and made her way to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs in 2018.
Millions of home gardeners have Purslane in their garden, and they only know it as an all too common, persistent weed. This succulent plant is drought tolerant, and grows just about anywhere, in almost any soil and weather conditions. It comes back year after year, making it difficult to rid your garden of this weed.
Portulaca Oleracea - Pinterest Fundamentals Explained
Once you recognize it as a vegetable, you may still opt to treat it as a weed. After all, it is not easy to begin eating a plant, that you have always considered a weed. Native to India and Persia, the roughly 500 varieties of Purslane plants have made their way to home gardens around the world.
It produces yellow flowers. If you do add this vegetable to your diet, it is good for you, raw or cooked. It is low in calories, nutritious, and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. It has more beta-carotene than spinach. The leaves, tender stem tips and seeds are edible. Other Names: Duckweed, Fatweed, Pigweed Portulaca, Pursley, Wild Portulaca Let's explore how to grow it, how to use it in your diet, and the medicinal benefits......
A single plant can produce over 50,000 seeds! The seeds are capable of being dormant in the soil for 30 to 40 years. Pieces of the stem that break up as you weed your garden, will produce more Purslane. Seeds germinate at a high soil temperature of 90 degrees. The plant begins to produce flowers and seeds in as little as three weeks.
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Garden Tip: If you are looking to control them as a weed, apply a thick layer of mulch around your plants As an aggressive plant, it will quickly take over the garden space you allot of it. Weed as needed. Water plants occasionally in hot dry, drought conditions. You can begin to harvest the leaves and tender stem tips, as soon as the plants become big enough to pick leaves.
It has a flavor similar to spinach or watercress. To some chefs, it is a culinary delicacy. Use it raw in salads and sandwiches. Add it to omelets, soups, stews, tortillas or stir fried. Try substituting Purslane in in place of spinach, in your favorite recipes. Purslane has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
With a flavor somewhere between watercress and spinach, a nearly unstoppable growth habit, extreme drought tolerance and a preference for poor soil conditions, purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is an edible weed you can grow easily from seed almost anywhere in the garden. Grow this frost-sensitive annual in a rock garden, patio planter, hanging basket or on a rock wall.
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Purslane self-propagates in one of two ways; either by spreading seeds abundantly or from sections of the stem that are broken off by grazing animals or foot traffic. The seeds germinate reliably in the soil when temperature and moisture are optimum. When they are not, purslane seeds can remain viable for up to 40 years in the soil before they germinate.
Tiny purslane seeds develop inside seed pods in spring and early summer. The pods grow close to the stem in a cone shape. When ripe, the top of the cone breaks off and the seeds scatter naturally. Purslane seeds are slightly oval, black and wrinkled. If you look closely, you can see a white marking on one end of the seed.
Purslane seeds take seven to 10 days to germinate between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can sow seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep directly in the garden. Spring is the best time to plant purslane from seed. In areas with even mild frost in winter, wait until the last frost date has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 70 F before planting.
The Definitive Guide to Purslane In The Garden: Friend Or Foe? - Detroit News
This plant is ideal for hot, humid climates and rocky, difficult areas of the garden. The only conditions that purslane does not thrive in are heavy, wet or waterlogged soil and freezing conditions during the growing season. Purslane grows well in rocky soil, is drought tolerant, can withstand full sun or deep shade and grows voraciously in loamy garden soil.
You can eat the leaves and stems by picking them individually from the plant throughout the growing season. Purslane seeds are also edible fresh or ground up and added to baked goods. While edible and grown as a vegetable, purslane is also considered an invasive, nonnative species. It is particularly problematic in mild Mediterranean climates.
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You can also dig the plants from the garden to remove them, but make sure not to leave any roots or stem fragments behind to grow into new plants. Do not till a purslane patch; it will come back with a vengeance and be difficult to eradicate. To help control purslane, grow it in containers and carefully remove the flowers before seeds develop.
PURSLANE (Portulaca oleracea) Christopher Blume (2.19.06) Life History Process Birth Seed (Parental) Vegetative bud (Parental) Sexual reproduction (seeds) Asexual reproduction (vegetative buds) Produces copious amounts of seed. Purslane primarily reproduces through the formation of large amounts of seed. Seed production begins in midsummer and extends through the end of the growing season (Hanson 2004).
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Seeds are borne in a small pod with a top that comes off like the lid on a cookie jar and are reddish brown to black, oval, and tiny (about 1/64-1/32 inch in diameter) (Cudney and Elmore 2003). Because of the large number of seeds, the plant can colonize and form dense mats (Hanson 2004), which can be very difficult to control.
The ability of the plant to produce new plant after activities of cultivation and hoeing allows the plant to be very difficult to control through non-chemical, mechanical activities. Life History Process Dispersal Seed (Independent) Ramet (Independent) Spatial Dispersal Soil seed formation (dispersal in time) Seed dispersal by humans. Humans are a large source of seed dispersal among the purslane.
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Nondormant seed.Fresh purslane seed has the ability to germinate immediately, allowing for several generations per year (Kiyoko and Cavers 1980). For those that do not germinate, the seeds have the ability to remain viable in the soil for up to 40 years (Anonymous). Certain cultural practices disturb the seeds that are left in the soil and bring them to the surface, allowing for germination (Cudney and Elmore 1999).
Having this capability, allows the plant to persist even with the use of mechanical cultivation. Life History Process Recruitment Seedling (Juvenile) Bud shoot (Juvenile) Germination Emergence from soil First leaf greening Bud growth Establishment Tolerance of poor conditions. Purslane is a common weed of gardens, lawns, waste areas and cultivated fields and grows best on rich, moist soils and can grow in sun or shade (Foss and Antonelli 2003).
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The plants bloom and set seeds rapidly, allowing for several generations per year. Also, when mechanical or cultural control methods are used, and the purslane vegetative shoots are broken, the cut fragments have the ability to regenerate and establish into new plants (Hanson 2004). Life History Process Vegetative Growth Vegetative plant (Adult) Growth Defense/Offense Meristem morphogenesis Senescence of some tissues Defense/Offense Survival of perennating structures Radiating, prostrate stems dense matting. Because purslane produces large amounts of seed, it has the ability to rapidly colonize any warm, moist area.
The stems are prostrate, stout and fleshy, often reddish, abundantly branched from the base and forming large circular mats up to 40 to 60 cm across (Mitich 1997). Due to the low-profile growing style of purslane, it utilizes nutrients and available moisture as well as keeping light from reaching the soil surface.
The fruit is an urn-shaped, one-celled, many-seeded capsule, 4 to 8 mm long, with many brownish-black and shiny seeds (Kiyoko and Cavers 1980). Varying methods of pollination�The primary sources of pollination of purslane are bees, insects and wind (Hanson 2004). THRIVE: Purslane thrives in cultivated fields and gardens, barren driveways, waste places, and eroded slopes and bluffs from sea level to 3,835 m.
1977). NOT THRIVE: Purslane would not thrive in areas that are relatively cold. Purslane is cold sensitive, but its seeds survive frigid temperatures (Mitich 1997). Purslane also has a difficult time establishing in dense grass communities (Hanson 2004). Purslane also does not stand competition and doesn�t do well where plants have already been established (Anonymous 1984).
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Seeds germinate when soil temperatures reach 60oF. Purslane does well in rich, moist soil, but also does well in a variety of soils. It does better on bare soil where there is no competition with other plants. Purslane also has the capability to establish itself on compacted soils. Because purslane is a succulent, they can do very well in drought-like conditions.
Purslane produces stems that are more prostrate, with more leaves when grown in sunshine, as opposed to more upright stems and less leaves in shady areas. COMPETITION: Purslane does not do well in areas with established plants. Therefore, the competition capacity is very low. However, if purslane gets established, producing a large dense mat of stems, it may prevent weed seeds from germinating in nearby areas.
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Gardens, arable fields, and newly seeded areas are prime examples of ideal seedbeds for purslane. REFERENCES Anonymous. Common Purslane, Portulaca oleracea. Whatcom Weeds. <http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/publicworks/pdf/weeds/purslane.pdf> Accessed: 17 February 2006 . Anonymous. 1984. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Crop Development Branch of Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization. <http://www.agr.gov.sk.ca/DOCS/crops/integrated_pest_management/weed_identification_broadleaf_weeds/Purslane.asp> Accessed 2006 February 17. Christians, N.
Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York . Cudney, D., and C. Elmore. 1999. University of California . UC IPM Online: Statewide Integration Pest Management Program. <http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7461.html> Accessed 2006 February 17. Cudney, D., and C. Elmore. 2003. University of California . UC IPM Online: Statewide Integration Pest Management Program.
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Kiyoko, M. and P B. Cavers. 1980. The biology of Canadian weeds. 40. Portulaca oleracea L. Can. J. Plant Sci. 60:953-963. Mitich, L. W. 1997. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Weed Tech. 11(2):394-397.
Is it a weed, or a superfood? Make a little room for purslane to run wild in your garden or plant it with purpose, growing it along with other tender, summer greens. Given ample sun and regular water, purslane is a perfect sandwich filler and salad fixer. Its tender, succulent leaves add crunch and mellow sweetness in place of lettuce or even other veggies like cucumber, plus it’s a nutrition power house.
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According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the fresh leaves of purslane contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy, land vegetable. (Marine algae — or seaweed — is also high in omega-3 fatty acids.) These are essential fatty acids that aid heart health, reduce risk of stroke, and help prevent developmental diseases.
Grow your own purslane from seed, planting it as soon as temperatures warm to about 60 F in spring. Look for green or golden purslane seeds and sprinkle them on the soil surface, pressing them lightly into the soil, but don’t bury them as they require light to germinate. Sow seeds successionally every 3 or 4 weeks to ensure summer long harvesting and it will continue to thrive during the hottest of summer months.
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It’s easy to pull and prune as needed, just know that it will volunteer the next warm season if it likes where it’s growing. Gather whole stems in the morning or evening when they’re juiciest, trimming up to 4 inches or more of the stems (from the tip toward the base) at a time.
Continual harvesting of young leaves encourages new leaf growth and branching. Purslane will go to seed after about 6 to 8 weeks. Harvest and save seeds for planting the following summer. Look for purslane growing wild. It may be you can forage for what you can’t grow. Harvest and eat young, tender leaves as soon as plants sprout and begin to take hold.
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Leaves are best eaten fresh when young and tender. Consider cooking or wilting older, mature leaves like you would spinach as they can become slightly tough and mucilaginous with age. Other articles you might enjoy: .
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While food is any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, and promote growth.Purslane is a rather abundant in my garden this year. It is growing in the newly constructed raised beds and in the paths. I’ve been weeding it in areas where it may compete for moisture and nutrients with crops, but have allowed it to grow in corners and in paths.
I have been plucking the succulent leaves and adding them to salads, stir fry, and scrambling them up with my morning eggs.Purslane growing in the paths in between garden beds. Purslane is low in calories, high in fiber, an excellent source of the essential amino acids, and vitamins A, C and E.
(source: HealthGuidance and USDA)In his book, Michael Pollan praises Purslane as one of the healthiest plants on the planet:“Two of the most nutritious plants in the world are weeds—lamb’s quarters and purslane—and some of the healthiest traditional diets make frequent use of wild greens,” ~Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Purslane grows freely and tolerates different light intensities, temperature ranges and soil types.
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It is a free source of nutritious food. Purslane easily reproduces from stem pieces and seeds with no effort on our part. It’s succulent characteristic makes it very drought tolerant. Purslane’s succulent-like leaves have a refreshingly crisp, slightly lemon flavor with a nice crunch that make a wonderful addition to any salad.
Personally, I find the stems to be a little tough but the leaves are tossed onto pizza, scrambled up in eggs, added as a burger topping, and snacked on while I am in the garden.In addition, Purslane has been used since ancient times to treat various health conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Portulaca Oleracea is called Ma Chi Xian and is used to aid in clearing heat, expelling toxins, and cooling blood.
(source: TCM Assistant and TCM Wiki)I will continue to consume Purslane moderately in regular meals and encourage you to give this free food resource a try. I have gathered some Recipes for Purslane on Pinterest:Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year.
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The flowers were striking. And it’s a good thing I kept the purslane contained. We had a really strange weather year. Our grass emerged later than usual, and we were overtaken with two prostrate weeds: goatheads and purslane. With moderate drought, this grass is not as green as it should be.
Yep, that’s fading purslane. I don’t know if the lack of grass around the dead purslane was the reason the purslane is so heavy in some areas, OR whether the hardiness of the purslane in our recent conditions simply covered the ground and choked out native grass in many areas.
I’ve grown to accept that some invasive plants (aka: weeds) are not so bad. I’m still on the fence with purslane (Portulaca oleracea), a prostrate spreading succulent that can take over entire flower beds. Ornamental portulaca from the same family as purslane. Note the ornamental’s thinner, needle-like leaves. Purslane can grow in pavement, between rocks, and in moist conditions.
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And a purslane can have more than 50,000 seeds per plant. It re-roots after being hoed. That’s a weed, right? Still, many value purslane because it is edible. But in my mind, if the plant interferes with the objectives in managing a lawn or garden, it’s a weed. And since mats of purslane suck moisture and nutrients from soil and even shade soil from sun as they spread, they’re pretty much weeds in my book.
Close-up of fading, sort of mowed purslane; it’s returned to its reddish color. Purslane was grown in India originally and provided nutrition and reported health benefits. Those who eat purslane have described its taste as lemony or similar to spinach. And the plant tastes best if “harvested” while its fleshy leaves still are young.
Pull it up before it sets seed to avoid having an entire bed full of the weed the next year. Not sure a weed is purslane? Check out these photos of seedlings and other stages of purslane from Missouri State University. Even common purslane can be pretty. The fleshy leaves contrast nicely with tiny, usually orange, flowers.
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grandiflora. You can tell an ornamental portulaca from a purslane by its leaves. Ornamental portulaca, often called moss rose, has more needle-like leaves than purslane foliage. The flowers also are showier, often looking either like a cactus bloom or a tiny carnation or rose. I love this portulaca bloom. The plant loves sun and heat.
They’re also a perfect container plant, especially if you buy a mix of colors, which warm-climate nurseries usually carry. Both purslane and portulaca bloom in the morning after the sun has been up a few hours, and close later in the day. These are annuals worth the money! I’ve never seem portulaca mound like this, but loved the effect and color.
Although not nearly as invasive as its purslane relative, an ornamental portulaca often pops up somewhere in the landscape. But to me, it’s a happy surprise. The easy-care, drought tolerant annual is welcome in our garden any time temperatures begin to warm up in early summer. The worst thing you can do is overwater the plant, especially if it’s in potting mix.
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Portulaca actually do better with sun and heat, but who would have thought it would be 40 degrees F in mid-May? I can’t wait for these containers at the back of our garden to fill in. Portulaca will keep blooming and spreading into fall, provided you do one thing: pinch off spent blooms.
The equivalent of deadheading this annual is so simple; just pinch the blooms off into your hand after they have closed up and begun to look withered. If the flower resists, wait a day. You’ll soon recognize the difference between a bud and a spent bloom. This portulaca re-seeded in some soil we repurposed for one of Tim’s cacti.
A tiny dried-up flower peeks from behind the bloom; it’s ready to pinch off! Two new buds are a little lower on either side of the stem. And a faded bloom, nearly ready to pinch, lies at the lower right. And if you want to pinch your portulaca while eating a salad with purslane leaves, that’s up to you.
The young shoots are fleshy, slightly tart and mucilaginous, and provide a salty tang to any salad. Lightly steamed, or wrapped in foil and thrown into the coals or on the barbecue, it is delicious with butter and pepper, making it an excellent “greens”. The leaves are rich in vitamins C and A, with some B vitamins as well.
The seeds, used by indigenous Australians to make a flour, are the highest known vegetable source of omega 3 oils (alpha-linolenic acid). To harvest the tiny seeds, the indigenous Australians developed a method of piling the plants in heaps on a flat hard surface, bark or animal skin to let them dry.
This highly nutritious and valuable plant is easy to grow in any garden or pot. You will occasionally find it commercially. Some plants deserve to be more widely grown and recognised as food. Purslane is one of them. If you see it growing on waste land or ungrazed areas (animals seek it out quickly), nip off the growing shoots and collect an ancient and highly nutritious food source.
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Any sunny spot, a minimum of care and watering, and you’ll have a regular source of greens. Low Tim. 1991. Wild Food Plants of Australia. Harper Collins Australia. Wikipedia. Portulaca oleracea.
Horticulturist May 25, 2020 Although common purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it is eaten throughout Europe, India, and the Middle East. X Research source The leaves on purslane can be used in salads or dried to make herbs. You can find this plant growing in backyards and the cracks of city sidewalks.
Grow and harvest purslane in your garden by choosing a suitable planting area and scattering seeds. Store unwashed purslane in your refrigerator or keep it in your freezer for up to a year.
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, any of certain small, fleshy annual plants of the genus Portulaca (40–100 species), of the family Portulacaceae. The plants have prostrate, often reddish stems, with spoon-shaped leaves and flowers that open in the sunlight. The common purslane (P. oleracea), or pusley, is a widespread weed, recognizable by its small yellow flowers.
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It is grown in California as a specimen plant for its succulent habit and its tiny pink flowers that grow in clusters; it is also cultivated widely as an indoor potted plant. This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager..
, or Portulaca oleracea, is a garden weed that is edible and has many health benefits. Find out the benefits of the purslane plant here, and get a purslane recipe! Like many other weeds, purslane is not only edible but also far more nutritious than many of the crops that we plant! Here’s just a few of the health benefits of purslane: of carrots than spinach .
It has many of the same health benefits as other leafy greens. Immigrants from India originally brought it with them to our shores, where it has escaped into gardens and backyards everywhere. See the purslane picture below. It’s a plant most of us consider a weed. I have never planted purslane yet it appears every spring in my garden.
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I let it grow in between my rows of carrots and beets and in other places where it isn’t bothering my veggies. Once it is touching my crops, I take it out and eat it. To harvest purslane, it’s a good idea to pull it up completely, then cut off the stems from the piece attached to the root.
A delightful, nutritious extra for the enthusiastic gardener. How do people eat purslane? Once you’ve cut off the root, the individual stems needs to be washed carefully. Purslane has little crevices to hold the soil, so you really need to use a hose to get ALL the dirt off. Purslane is usually tossed into salads or added to soups in the Mediterranean area In Mexico, it’s a favorite addition to omelettes.
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Common purslane. Common purslane, Portulaca oleracea, is a highly variable, weedy plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae) with a wide distribution. Although it is likely native to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, it had reached North America by pre-Columbian times and was in Europe by the late 16th century.
It has been grown for more than 4,000 years as a food and medicinal plant and is still cultivated in many places today. Common purslane is a low-growing plant with succulent leaves. It is considered quite nutritious because it is unusually high in omega-3 fatty acids (found mostly in fish and flax seeds) and contains significant amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium and antioxidants.
It is sometimes used as fodder and is fed to poultry to reduce egg cholesterol and was also used traditionally as an ointment for burns. Some other common names include garden purslane, little hogweed, pusley, and wild portulaca. It’s called pourpier in France and verdolaga in Mexico. Purslane is a fast-growing herbaceous annual with succulent leaves and stems.
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The multiple smooth, reddish stems originating from a single taproot are mostly prostrate, forming a mat covering up to 3 feet in diameter. Depending on the amount of moisture available, the plant may be quite low-growing or more erect up to 16″ tall. A seedling of common purslane (L) and small plants, just beginning to branch (C and R).
The alternate leaves are clustered at stem joints. The individual leaves are quite fleshy, storing lots of water when available. Each flat green leaf is oval to spoon-shaped, broadest near the rounded tip, and without any indentations along the often reddish margin. They rarely have petioles and are attached directly to the stems.
Plants will flower whenever moisture is sufficient. The ¼ – ½ inch wide yellow flowers have five (sometimes four) notched petals, numerous yellow stamens, and several pistils that are bunched together in the center. They typically open only on hot, sunny days from midmorning to early afternoon. The flowers occur in leaf axils at the stem joints or terminally, with just a single one opening in each leaf cluster at a time.
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It does best in warm weather, and young plants will remain small and stunted when conditions are cool. Although it prefers regular water it can tolerate drought. It is easily dug or hoed out where unwanted but these plants should be removed from the garden as cut stems from larger plants will root readily at the nodes to become re-established, and seeds will mature in the pods even if the plant is pulled and left with its roots turned upward.
The plant is frost tender and will be killed by the first freeze in fall. Purslane is easily grown in the vegetable garden from seed, ready for harvest in 6-8 weeks. Sow in fertile, well-drained soil and thin to 4 to 6″ apart. The entire plant can be harvested or the stems can be cut back to within two inches of the crown and the plant will regrow, providing edible leaves for most of the summer (although successive sowings may be preferred for more tender young leaves).
Purslane has few pests, although in some parts of the country purslane sawfly, Schizocerella pilicornis, and a leafminer weevil, Hypurus bertrandiperris, will damage or kill the plants. In many places outside of North America purslane is commonly eaten as a fresh or cooked vegetable. In the US it can occasionally be found in specialty stores or at Farmer’s Markets.
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The stems, leaves and flower buds have a slightly tart or sour and salty taste. The intensity of flavor is influenced by the physiology of the plant. In hot, dry conditions purslane switches to photosynthesis using Crassulacean acid metabolism (C4) as a means of conserving moisture. In this system the leaves trap carbon dioxide at night (instead of during the day as with normal photosynthetic process, when open stomata would allow valuable water to escape through transpiration) and convert this to malic acid.
So leaves picked early in the day when malic acid concentrations are highest will have the tartest flavor. There are several named cultivars that are grown as crops, but few are available in the US. Purslane is used in many cuisines around the world, especially in salads, soups, stews, and tomato sauces.