Scientific NamePortulaca oleracea
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Portulaca oleracea ssp. impolita
Portulaca oleracea ssp. nitida
Portulaca oleracea ssp. nicaraguensis
Portulaca oleracea ssp. stellat
Portulaca oleracea ssp. granulatostellulata
Portulaca oleracea ssp. papillatostellulata
Common purslane is an annual that grows rapidly in spring and summer. It thrives under dry conditions but also competes well in irrigated situations. Plants prefer loose, nutrient-rich, sandy soil.
Leaves are very succulent, often tinged red, and wedge-shaped. They are opposite or alternate along the stem and are without petioles.
Leaves and stems of this plant are hairless, thick, fleshy and very succulent. Stems are reddish-brown and round.
Flower Seed Head
Small yellow flowers are born singly or in clusters of two or three in stem axils or at tips of stems. Flowers usually open only on sunny mornings. Purslane seeds are very tiny and produced in abundance.
The fruit is an oval, many-seeded capsule (4-8 mm long by 3-5 mm wide) that splits open around the middle.
It has been cultivated in India and the Middle East and has been popular in Europe since the Middle Ages. In the United States, common purslane is a minor crop because of its use in ethnic cooking and its reputed health benefits.
prostrate and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
Stem Cross Section
round or oval