common purslane

(Portulaca oleracea)

Conservation Status
common purslane
Photo by Bill Reynolds
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - No Status Rank

SNA - No Status Rank


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Common purslane is a 2 to 6 tall annual forb that rises on many stems from a stout, ¾ to 4 long, taproot. It forms large mats.

The stems are X¾ to 22 long and lay flat on the ground (prostrate). They are repeatedly branched, round in cross section, thick, fleshy, and juicy (succulent). They are hairless and usually purplish brown, sometimes light green with a reddish tinge.

The leaves are alternate, flat, succulent, spatula-shaped to inversely egg-shaped or wedge-shaped, to 1 long, and 1 16 to ½ wide. They are green and glossy, often becoming reddish-tinged in strong sunlight. They are stalkless or on very short leaf stalks and are often crowded at the end of the branch. They are rounded to nearly straight across at the tip and taper slightly to the base. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower or a small cluster of flowers of 2 or 3 at the end of the stem.

The flowers are to ¼ in diameter. There are 2 sepals, 5 petals, 6 to 10 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green and usually enclose the flower, opening only on sunny mornings. The petals are yellow, oblong, to 3 16long, and 1 16 to wide. They are not joined at the base. The stamens have translucent yellow filaments and yellow anthers. The style has 5 branches.

The fruit is a round to egg-shaped, to in diameter capsule. It is not winged. It splits around the middle when ripe to release many seeds.




2 to 6


Flower Color




Similar Species


Dry to moderate moisture. Gardens, roadsides, agricultural fields, sidewalk cracks, and other disturbed sites. Full sun.




June to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30.




The nativity of common purslane is unknown. It was probably introduced into North America in pre-Columbian times. There is evidence of it in Ontario lake deposits dating from 1350 to 1539. Today it is widely naturalized across the United States and southern Canada.




Common and widespread

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  


Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  


Portulacaceae (purslane)  


Portulaca (purslane)  

Subordinate Taxa


Many subspecies and varieties of common purslane have been described. Authoritative sources have little agreement on how many variants to recognized, if any, and what those variants should be.




Portulaca neglecta

Portulaca retusa


Common Names


common purslane

little hogweed




wild portulaca













Laying flat on the ground.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Having thick leaves, stems, or roots that store water. Succulent tissues appear fleshy externally and juicy internally.



A thin, flat, membranous, usually transparent appendage on the margin of a structure.

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    common purslane      








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Other Videos
  Portulaca oleracea | Purslane (Pt 1 of 2)

Published on Aug 21, 2012

Visit Website:

Photos used under protection of the "fair use" section (107) of the U.S. copyright act of 1976.

  Portulaca oleracea | Purslane (Pt 2 of 2)

Published on Aug 21, 2012

MNEMONIC EXPLAINED: Vividly imagine seeing a group (many branches; creeping along the ground; mat-like) of oar (oar-shaped leaves) snakes (stems and leaves are thick, succulent and fleshy like snakes [this is a snake plant not a skinny worm plant]). They have torn a lemon (flowers are yellow) apart. Some are eating it (flowers develop where the "stalkless" leaf meets the stem [this "Y" section represents the snake's mouth with the yellow/lemon inside of it]) while others are passing it (after the snakes eat the lemon they poop the lemon and the lemon poop piles up at the tail [this reminds you that yellow flowers can also be found in clusters at the end of branches/snakes]). When they spot you they rise up (plant grows up to 6 inches tall [about average for a rising snake I guess]) and try to bite, so you take your knife and chop the snakes in half. Now watch until the very last drop of blood (stems are reddish) and lemon juice (this plant can be distinguished from it's look-alike by it's clear sap [not milky]) drains out (after the snakes have been drained of it's blood and lemon juice, the skin is no longer reddish but is green now [this reminds you that the stems/snakes can also appear green.

  Common Purslane (Portulaca oeracea) - 2013-08-22

Published on Sep 3, 2013

Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane, also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, or Pursley, and Moss rose) is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which may reach 40 cm in height.

Postelein (Portulaca oleracea, synoniem: Portulaca sativa) is een eenjarige plant, die behoort tot de posteleinfamilie (Portulacaceae).

52.01775 4.29993

  Wild edibles 24: Purslane vs. Spurge
Journey Outdoors

ploaded on Jul 12, 2011

Is it nutritious Purslane or Toxic Spurge? I'll show you how to tell the difference along with some video I took of Sea purslane which is a great survival food since it is found on beaches worldwide.




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Location: Pennington County

common purslane  






Created: 12/1/2013

Last Updated:

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