Portulaca oleracea

Posted on Updated on

Portulaca oleraceaFamily: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca
Common names: Pigweed, purslane
ALA reference

While this is a native species it also occurs in many other parts of the world. It is a prostrate herb with fleshy, reddish stems and thick, succulent leaves which are oval shaped and about 25 mm long. Small yellow flowers occur in the leaf bases. While it is often considered as a weed, a feature of the plant which raises its status above that of a common weed, is its edibility. The species was well known to the early settlers who often used the juicy leaves in salads and, cooked, as a substitute for spinach. The seeds are also edible and are usually ground and baked into a damper. It was also eaten by the aborigines. (December 2012)