Portulaca oleracea L.
Common Purslane, Little hogweed
Portulacaceae (Purslane Family)
Synonym(s): Portulaca neglecta, Portulaca oleracea ssp. granulatostellulata, Portulaca oleracea ssp. impolita, Portulaca oleracea ssp. nicaraguensis, Portulaca oleracea ssp. nitida, Portulaca oleracea ssp. papillatostellulata, Portulaca oleracea ssp. stellata, Portulaca retusa
USDA Symbol: pool
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.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
DistributionUSA: 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
Native Distribution: Throughout much of North America, except far north.
Native Habitat: Open places, especially in disturbed soil; frequently garden weed.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0896 Collected Jun 24, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Portulaca oleracea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Portulaca oleracea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Portulaca oleracea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff