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Edible uses


Unknown part

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Portulaca oleracea.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


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Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Portulaca oleracea. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Portulaca oleracea.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Portulaca oleracea
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type



    Requires a moist light rich well-drained soil in a sunny position[2][5][22]. Plants will not produce good quality leaves when growing in dry conditions[2]. 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[23]. The flowers only open in full sunlight[24]. Purslane is occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[6]. 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[2].


    Seed - for an early crop, the seed is best sown under protection in early spring and can then be planted out in late spring[2]. 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[2].


    S. Europe. A not infrequent casual in Britain.


    Fields, waste ground, roadside verges, cultivated ground and by the sea[16].

    Known hazards

    None known

    Edible uses

    Leaves and stems - raw or cooked[1][2][3][4][5]. 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[2][6]. Older leaves are used as a potherb[2]. The leaves have a somewhat sour flavour[7]. A spicy and somewhat salty taste[8]. The leaves are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, though seed sources such as walnuts are magnitudes richer[9]. The leaves can be dried for later use[7]. They contain about 1.8% protein, 0.5% fat, 6.5% carbohydrate, 2.2% ash[10]. 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[11]. Seed - raw or cooked[12][13][14]. The seed can be ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for use in gruels, bread, pancakes etc[6][15]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize[7]. 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[15]. 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[11]. 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[11]. The ash of burnt plants is used as a salt substitute[6].

    Material uses

    None known

    Medicinal uses

    The plant is antibacterial, antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic and febrifuge[2][16][17][18][19]. 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[19]. Seed sources such as walnuts, however, are much richer sources[9]. The fresh juice is used in the treatment of strangury, coughs, sores etc[2][16][17][18]. The leaves are poulticed and applied to burns[9], both they and the plant juice are particularly effective in the treatment of skin diseases and insect stings[16][19]. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of stomach aches and headaches[9]. The leaf juice is applied to earaches, it is also said to alleviate caterpillar stings[9]. The leaves can be harvested at any time before the plant flowers, they are used fresh or dried[19]. This remedy is not given to pregnant women or to patients with digestive problems[19]. The seeds are tonic and vermifuge[11][20]. They are prescribed for dyspepsia and opacities of the cornea[11].


    1. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    2. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
    4. ? 4.04.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    5. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    6. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    9. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    11. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Kavasch. B. Native Harvests. Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-72811-4 (1979-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
    15. ? Low. T. Wild Food Plants of Australia. Angus and Robertson. ISBN 0-207-14383-8 (1989-00-00)
    16. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    17. ? ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    18. ? Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T. Australian Medicinal Plants. ()
    19. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    21. ? Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
    22. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    23. ? Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)
    24. ? Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)