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Bruso, George H.
Portulaca oleracea L.
Common Purslane, Little hogweed
Synonyms: Portulaca oleracea ssp. nitida
USDA Symbol: pool
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A sprawling plant with smooth, thick, fleshy, reddish stems and small, pale to often dark or deep yellow flowers, solitary or in small rounded clusters.
This annual species is a variable worldwide weed found in tropical and warm, temperate regions. Its leaves and stems were used as a source of food in India and Persia more than 2,000 years ago, and the plant has a long history of use in the Americas as a potherb and a medicinal plant, probably even prior to the first arrival of Europeans. It has an exceptionally high iron content. Spanish-Americans now call it Verdolaga and use it with tomatoes, onions, and various seasonings. The genus name may be derived from portula (little gate), referring to the lid on the fruit capsule. Noted not for its beauty but for its ubiquity, this plant grows rapidly and produces thousands of tiny black seeds. If pulled and left as mulch, it will live on stored water and food and, even with roots turned upward, will continue to mature seeds. The flowers open only in sunlight.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Flower:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY Canada: NB Native Distribution:
Throughout much of North America, except far north. Native Habitat:
Open places, especially in disturbed soil; frequently garden weed. USDA Native Status: L48(I), HI(I), PR(I), VI(I), CAN(N)
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Brackenridge Field Laboratory
- Austin, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0896
Collected Jun 24, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff