Portulaca oleracea

Portulaca oleracea L.

Common Names: Purslane, Parsely, Pussley

Family: Portulacaceae

Habit: Portulaca oleracea grows as a succulent annual or perennial up to 30 cm in height. The slightly succulent leaves are arranged alternate or oppositely, obovate to spathulate, to 3 cm in length, with an entire margin, a rounded leaf apex.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic, sessile flowers are arranged in clusters or solitarily at branch terminals. The calyx has 2 unfused sepals.  The corolla has 5 unfused yellow petals.  There are numerous stamens. The carpel has an inferior ovary with a single locule and many seeds.  The fruit is a capsule at maturity.  When mature the capsule opens above the base of the fruit leaving a shallow cup with seeds.

Habitat: Portulaca oleracea grows in Human Altered environments (old fields, yards, roadsides).

Distribution: Portulaca oleracea is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but has spread throughout all the island groupings.  It is native to Africa and the Middle East but has spread globally as a weed.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Portulaca oleracea is used in the Lucayan Archipelago to treat urinary tract problems, obstetric and gynecological issues as well as circulatory difficulties.

Portulaca oleracea leaves and stems are edible and good in salads.