Saturday, August 1, 2009

Purslane Family


The Purslane is a common plant; usually considered a weed. When it first appeared in my garden, I mistook it for the wingpod purslane which I had seen flowering in my office garden. I waited for the characteristic cup like flowers to emerge, and was very disappointed to see a tiny yellow flower quite unlike what I had expected.

A chance visit to a nursery led to me acquiring two of these (incase one did not survive my "care" ). I was pleasantly surprised when it not only survived but thrived and yielded two different varieties - the WingPod Purslane ( this is the common one ) and the Portulaca Allglow ( a specially created hybrid ).

Research on Wikipedia and the FlowersOfIndia site for this blog revealed that they are all related to the same Portulaca Family. Even the Moss Rose is a close relative.

Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is widely considered an edible plant, and in some areas an invasive type of weed. (also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed or Pusley)

Portulaca Allglow : Portulaca spp.
This was a surprise find and it is not very common, the nursery in Jeevan Bhima Nagar has it. The inner flower which is a bright pink has a different texture and feel than the outer petals. It is a specially created hybrid and not naturally occurring.

WingPod Purslane : Portulaca umbraticola


This plant I have seen in two colours, yellow and pink-ish peach. It has lovely cup like flowers which open in the sun-shine and close by sunset. They need the sun to open, I find that on cloudy days they wont bloom at all.

Care and Growing
No Care is needed. (why else do you think I have this?) Sun and occasional watering is welcome. It is not completely pest resistant, I have seen it under attack from aphids. I have sprayed it with mild detergent water and prayed (hard). This seems to be working.

Grown easily in pots, it can be propagated easily through cuttings ( Ive tried it, it works). Chop them up, make millions. Grows rather easily. Currently though, the allglow has stopped flowering, it may be entering a rest phase, or it may be mad at me because I forgot to water it last week.


History and Research:
Portulacaceae is a family of flowering plants, comprising about 20 genera with about 500 species, ranging from herbaceous plants to shrubs. It is also known as the purslane family; it has a cosmopolitan distribution, with the highest diversity in semi-arid regions of the Southern Hemisphere in Africa, Australia, and South America, but with a few species also extending north into Arctic regions.

Can I eat it?
Purslane can be eaten raw or cooked, and lends itself to stir fry dishes. Some say it has a slight lemon-like taste and mushroom-like texture. It is relatively easy to grow in more northern climates, including the New England area in the United States.
It is apparently a good source of vitamin C.

Portulaca All Glow @
WingPod Purslane @


anoop said...

though all this is just greek and latin to me as botany was one of my dreaded subjects, I just love the enthusiasm you have for the plants. Now i can identify Purslane plant flower. Thanks.

Satish Bhat said...

Hi Rohini !

Meandered here from GB's blog. Ur pics are lovely ! And like Anoop put it, ur enthu is really something - will keep coming back for more!

shyamal said...

Marvelous photographs!I may add that apart from Vitamin C,this Purslane is a rich source of Omega 3 Fatty Acid which does tremendous good to Heart and reduces risk of Cancer,Dementia,Arthritis,Asthma,Allergies and many Women's illness.Robin Chakravorty,Nutrition Advisor

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