Botanical name: Portulaca oleracea Family: Portulacaceae (Moss rose family)
This common 'weed' is native to India. The leaves are alternate. Each succulent leaf is entire and the leaves are clustered at stem joints and ends. The flowers have 5 regular parts and are up to 0.6cm wide. They are yellow. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into mid fall. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod the lid of which opens when the seeds are ready. It can be found growing wild and/or cultivated in much of the world. It existed in the New World before the arrival of Columbus, and was found in Europe by the late 16th century. It can be found growing in almost any unshaded area, including flower beds, corn fields, and waste places. Purslane can be found growing in cold climate areas as well as warm areas. It has been used in salads and as a medicinal plant (for people) for hundreds of years Purslane is a good edible and is eaten throughout much of Europe and Asia. It can be eaten fresh or cooked and has no bitter taste at all. Since it has a mucilaginous quality it is great for soups and stews.
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