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Portulaca oleracea - L.
Common Name Green Purslane, Little hogweed
Family Portulacaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Fields, waste ground, roadside verges, cultivated ground and by the sea[7].
Range S. Europe. A not infrequent casual in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Moist Soil Full sun


Portulaca oleracea Green Purslane, Little hogweed

Portulaca oleracea Green Purslane, Little hogweed
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Portulaca oleracea is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Salt.

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked[1, 4, 12, 27, 37]. The young leaves are a very acceptable addition to salads, their mucilaginous quality also making them a good substitute for okra as a thickener in soups[4, 183]. Older leaves are used as a potherb[4]. The leaves have a somewhat sour flavour[85]. A spicy and somewhat salty taste[9]. The leaves are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, though seed sources such as walnuts are magnitudes richer[222]. The leaves can be dried for later use[85]. They contain about 1.8% protein, 0.5% fat, 6.5% carbohydrate, 2.2% ash[179]. Another analysis gives the following figures per 100g ZMB. 245 - 296 calories, 17.6 - 34.5g protein, 2.4 - 5.3g fat, 35.5 - 63.2g carbohydrate, 8.5 - 14.6g fibre, 15.9 - 24.7g ash, 898 - 2078mg calcium, 320 - 774mg phosphorus, 11.2 - 46.7mg iron, 55mg sodium, 505 - 3120mg potassium, 10560 - 20000ug B-carotene equivalent, 0.23 - 0.48mg thiamine, 1.12 - 1.6mg riboflavin, 5.58 - 6.72mg niacin and 168 - 333mg ascorbic acid[218]. Seed - raw or cooked[62, 102, 159]. The seed can be ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for use in gruels, bread, pancakes etc[183, 193]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize[85]. In arid areas of Australia the plants grow quite large and can produce 10, 000 seeds per plant, a person can harvest several pounds of seed in a day. The seeding plants are uprooted and placed in a pile on sheets or something similar, in a few days the seeds are shed and can be collected from the sheet[193]. In Britain, however, yields are likely to be very low, especially in cool or wet summers[K]. The seed contains (per 100g ZMB) 21g protein, 18.9g fat 3.4g ash[218]. Fatty acids of the seeds are 10.9% palmitic, 3.7% stearic, 1.3% behenic, 28.7% oleic, 38.9% linoleic and 9.9% linolenic[218]. The ash of burnt plants is used as a salt substitute[183].
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 270 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 26g; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrate: 50g; Fibre: 11.5g; Ash: 20g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 1500mg; Phosphorus: 550mg; Iron: 29mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 55mg; Potassium: 1800mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 15000mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.35mg; Riboflavin (B2): 1.4mg; Niacin: 6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 250mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figures given here are the median of a very wide range quoted in the report.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiscorbutic;  Depurative;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Skin;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

The plant is antibacterial, antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic and febrifuge[4, 7, 147, 152, 238]. The leaves are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is thought to be important in preventing heart attacks and strengthening the immune system[238]. Seed sources such as walnuts, however, are much richer sources[222]. The fresh juice is used in the treatment of strangury, coughs, sores etc[4, 7, 147, 152]. The leaves are poulticed and applied to burns[222], both they and the plant juice are particularly effective in the treatment of skin diseases and insect stings[7, 238]. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of stomach aches and headaches[222]. The leaf juice is applied to earaches, it is also said to alleviate caterpillar stings[222]. The leaves can be harvested at any time before the plant flowers, they are used fresh or dried[238]. This remedy is not given to pregnant women or to patients with digestive problems[238]. The seeds are tonic and vermifuge[218, 240]. They are prescribed for dyspepsia and opacities of the cornea[218].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Requires a moist light rich well-drained soil in a sunny position[4, 37, 200]. Plants will not produce good quality leaves when growing in dry conditions[4]. A perennial plant in warmer climates than Britain, purslane is killed by frost but can be grown as a half-hardy annual in this country[1]. It can become an aggressive weed in areas where the climate suits it[274]. The flowers only open in full sunlight[244]. Purslane is occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[183]. The plants take about six to eight weeks to produce a crop from seed and can then be harvested on a cut and come again principle, providing edible leaves for most of the summer[4].
Seed - for an early crop, the seed is best sown under protection in early spring and can then be planted out in late spring[4]. Outdoor sowings in situ take place from late spring to late summer, successional sowings being made every two to three weeks if a constant supply of the leaves is required[4].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
David Beaulieu Tue Aug 22 2006
Some of us were picking purslane out of our lawns and gardens and putting it in salad long before it was a trendy item in upscale restaurants. Who knew?

Purslane Purslane overview: it's tasty, nutritious and free!

Elizabeth H.
mario caruana Wed Aug 20 2008
can this food be fed to canaries?
Elizabeth H.
Robert Gergulics Sat Apr 11 2009
Photos here: www.photorobg.com


Elizabeth H.
Mrs Ukam, Ngozi Uchechi Fri May 29 2009
How are the fruits use for the tratment of the opaquecity of the cornea? How do one brew the tea for headache? What quantity of this can one consume without any adverse efects? Really it would have been necessary for one to know the anti-nutrient statues of portulaca oleracia as it would have ben of immernse importance to consummers. We are really overwhelmed for the good job you have so far done. We in Community Development Monitor a non-for-profit organisation based in Nigeria-West Africa will like to be collaborating with your organisation. Remain blessed.
Nicolae D.
Apr 2 2016 12:00AM
This is growing like a invading weed in my garden in Romania (USDA 6). It is not frost tender since we had -20C for 2 nights 2 years ago.
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Subject : Portulaca oleracea  

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