T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Portulaca oleracea (Purslane)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca
Species: P. oleracea
Binomial names: Portulaca oleracea
Common names: Purslane, Common purslane, Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little hogweed, Red root, Pursley, Moss rose,
Green Purslane, Little hogweed, Wild portulaca. 

Portulaca oleracea is an annual succulent native to Europe and Asia minor and now naturalised in New Zealand. It is found through out New Zealand and its off shore islands. It may reach 30 cm in height but it is sprawling in open areas where it can form large mats. It has small 13mm diameter bright orange red flowers. The leaves and stems are eaten raw or cooked. The young leaves are a very acceptable addition to salads, their mucilaginous quality also making them a good substitute for okra as a thickener in soups.

Its impact as a weed is its ability to produce large numbers of seeds and can rapidly colonise any warm, moist site. A few scattered plants in the first year can become an almost solid carpet the following year. Its ability to reroot after cultivation or hoeing frequently enables it to survive these cultural control practices. The dense vegetative mats it forms utilise available moisture and nutrients and screen out light to the soil surface, preventing emergence of other seedlings.

  

  

Seed pods open, seeds visable.
 

Seeds.


A leaf.