Handy Facts About
The Purslane Plant

The purslane plant is a tasty, nutritious succulent -- in fact, my favorite edible succulent. Here are some handy facts about purslane to help you see whether this plant is right for your edible garden.

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Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Scientific name: Portulaca oleracea

Common name: purslane (also called pursley, verdolaga, fat weed, pigweed, little hogweed, andrakla, glistrida, Qulfa, Sanhti, Punarva, Kulfa)

Plant type: Frost-tender annual

Plant size: 3-9 inches tall, 6-18 inches wide

Easiest way to plant: Seed

Propagate by: Place cuttings on the ground and water

Edible parts: Leaves, stems, seeds

Fruit color: Green

Flower color(s): yellow, with yellow stamens. There are purslane cultivars with pink, red, or white flowers but it's not recommended that you eat them, as they are often higher in oxalates and can cause kidney stones and indigestion.

Purslane plant, showing flowers and leaves

Flower type: Cup-shaped, with heart-shaped petals

Blooms: Summer through early fall

Leaf color(s): Green, often with red edges

Leaf type: Oval, smooth, fleshy (succulent)

Leaf size: 1 inch long, 1/4 inch wide

Stem color: Red, yellow, and/or and green (the older the plant, the more red you'll see in its stems)

Stem type: Fleshy (succulent), smooth, red or reddish green

(very important: a poisonous lookalike called "spurge" is not succulent, with thin, woody, sometimes hairy stems and a milky sap)

USDA zones: 2-13 (you may be able to get purslane to grow in USDA zone 1 in a dry, warm, sunny area with protection)

Likes: Moist soil, any pH

Tolerates: Drought, compacted soil, poor soil

Dislikes: Shade, boggy soil

Uses: Ground cover, containers, a good companion plant in dry areas. Purslane is a great plant for a low-water, drought-tolerant, or desert garden.

The purslane plant tastes better later in the day, so purslane is best picked in the late afternoon, when you're preparing dinner.

Would you like to share your experiences with and questions about growing purslane with a friendly group of people who love edible gardening as much as you do? Join the Tasteful Landscape community.

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Drought-tolerant plants - Cacti and succulents

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