Purslane is a low-growing broad-leafed summer annual. The leaves and stems are edible.
Description and Life Cycle:
- Stems grow 6 inches to 1½ feet long.
- Stems are smooth, succulent, prostrate; may be tinged with red.
- Leaves fleshy, rounded to oval with smooth margins, are alternate but almost opposite on stem..
- Leaves may grow in clusters at the stem tip.
- Plant branches to form dense mat on soil surface.
- Flowers are five-petaled, pale yellow, grow in clusters in leaf axils; open in sunshine.
- Blooms mid-summer to early fall.
- Globe-shaped seed pods with small black seeds; a single plant can produce 50,000 seeds.
- Reproduces by seed and by stem fragments that root in damp soil.
- Thrives in moist conditions but can also grow in drought.
- Stems and leaves are edible with tart flavor; use in salads.
Root System: Purslane has a thick taproot and man fibrous secondary roots. Adventitious roots can emerge the from cut or broken surface of stem fragments allowing the plant to easily re-root if disturbed.
- Pull by hand early in the season before taproots get a hold in the soil.
- Hoe established plants to weaken them, but they may still reemerge if root is left behind.
- Do not leave pulled stems in the garden; they can re-root.
- Do not let plants go to seed.
Range: Throughout the United States and southern Canada.
Botanical Name: Portulaca oleracea
Four Quick Ways to Control Weeds:
- Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
- Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
- Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
- Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.