The Common Purslane

Fresh from the garden

Sprouting wild in a shallow container that I use for basil

An annual feature in my garden is the sight of  the Common Purslane/Portulaca oleracea. They make their appearance around this time of the year in containers and in my flower beds. Purslane is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae. The leaves are thick and smooth. In my mother tongue, its name translates to parrot’s tongue. It has yellow flowers and the tiny black seeds are formed in pods. Like other blooms from the same family, the flowers remain open only for a short while in the mornings.

The tiny seeds

Washing a small bunch of the vegetable gives you that many seeds. That goes back in the soil and my small supply of purslane is taken care of. That’s the best part about plants that are termed “weed” or “invasive”.  The other names of purslane are Pigweed and Little Hogweed.

PortulacaThese two  photos (above) show the Moss Rose from the same family grown for their blooms. Locally, these blooms are known as the Nine O’clock Flower.

That day I had also picked some of my jack beans. My harvest sits next to a small bed of balsam re-seeders. Although the beans grow to a foot in length, they need to be picked when they are very tender and the seeds are in their nascent stage otherwise it’s like trying to cut through a mature sponge gourd!! I’m letting a few grow to its maximum so that I can use the seeds later.

There’s something so satisfying about home-grown produce…I teamed up the two kinds of veggies into this dish. Stir-fried with onions, garlic, green chillies, and sliced ginger, this simple dish may not look so appetizing in this photo but the taste was wonderful!

(To read about the culinary usage of purslane, Wiki has all the details).


About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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11 Responses to The Common Purslane

  1. I have heard the word Purslane, but don’t think I have ever seen any. Their flowers are beautiful!! That’s what that white flower is, right? Parrot’s tongue, how cool! I love the moss rose. Nine O’Clock plant, why is it called that? We have four O’Clock plants!

    • kanak7 says:

      Ginny, the edible ones that sprout in my containers have tiny yellow flowers, smaller than the half-closed white bloom in the photo. I had bought a pot of the white and a pot of yellow bloomers that day from a nursery. They are not edible. As for the name, it’s because the blooms open in the morning and close before noon. I read on Wiki that it’s called Time Phul (word for “flower”} in Bangladesh. We have the Four O’Clocks too!

  2. Mildred says:

    Very interesting post Kanak. I always love your photos.

  3. lotusleaf says:

    Your dish looks so appetising! They cook the purslane with dal here.

  4. Andrea says:

    Oh you mean it is eaten!!! It is not eaten here, though Solitude Rising commented in my last Portulaca post that it is fed to pigs in Northern Philippines, maybe why the term pigweed. One of these days i will try sauteeing it like you did, another weed to include in my foodstuff in the future! That other species of Portulaca you call 9 o’clock, we call here ‘alas dies’ or ten o’clock, because after 10 the flowers close. How lovely to know the differences. By the way, that P. oleraceae is called ‘ulasiman’ in Pilipino.

    • kanak7 says:

      Andrea, thanks for sharing these details. Other ‘weeds’ that I get to enjoy because they come with the seasons are the Goosefoot and Leucas aspera. The latter has a slightly bitter taste but as they say one needs to include something sour and something bitter in one’s diet!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the info on the culinary use. Now I wonder what’s the taste of purslane…

  6. easygardener says:

    I have tried many times to grow Purslane as a salad vegetable but without success. They are eaten by snails or burst into flower before i can harvest a leaf. You obviously have the right conditions for success!

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