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Portulaca oleracea (Common purslane)
Bruso, George H.

Portulaca oleracea

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

USDA Native Status: L48 (I), HI (I), PR (I), VI (I), CAN (N)

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 Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: 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.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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

Additional resources

USDA: Find Portulaca oleracea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Portulaca oleracea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Portulaca oleracea


Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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