Fleshy, succulent looking, wild purslane

Purslane: Any Portulaca In A Storm

Her name was Zona. She was a grand friend-in-law

She had been a friend of the family for about a century. To be exact, her oldest son married the youngest daughter of my grandmother’s lifelong, met-as-kids, best friend. I went to high school with Zona’s granddaughter, which in a small town was closer than kissing cousins with expectations of marriage. Zona also had weeds, lots of weeds. While visiting relatives, I was asked to take a look at her weeds.

Leaves are crunchy and viscous

She was a spry widow and her house sat on a hill amid fields. The lowest field was also the local alluvial flood plain for the Royal River, which if it had been named for its true size would have been called the Royal Trickle.  Every spring, however, melting snow swelled it to near regal proportions and flooded Zona’s lower field, leaving it with rich, friable soil.  So, I looked at her black-earth garden. What Zona had was the most beautiful and ambitious plot of self-seeded purslane I have ever seen, before or since, truly an incredible bounty; deep green, plump, healthy and about as full of life and happy as any plant or weed ought to be or can to be.

As I stood there in amazement, she asked me if I knew what it was. I said yes, that it was the most nutritious green on earth and how fortunate she was.

“That?” she asked, pointing incredulously at her garden. “You can eat that? It’s a weed!”

“That,” I said, “is esteemed around the world” to which the crust crusty old gal said, “I ain’t goin’ to eat no god damned weed” and that was that.

Too bad. Purslane, sold in produce markets at every location on the rotation except the United States, is a nutritional powerhouse. It has omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants as well as a Fourth of July parade of vitamins and minerals. I think there’s even an anti-cancer color guard in there as well. According to experts at the University of Texas at San Antonio, purslane contains 10 to 20 times more melatonin, an antioxidant, than any other fruit or vegetable they tested. It’s a fine addition to the dinner table in many forms, and it is truly difficult to understate this plant’s amazing qualities. Let me sing in praise of purslane:

Small blossoms are open only for a day. Portulaca oleracea, (poor-two-LAY-ka oh-ler-AY-see-a) whose name means “milk-bearing cultivated plant” or “little door cultivated plant” is a native of India and the Middle East, but is naturalized throughout the world. Sediment deposits in Canada strongly suggest it came to North American before Columbus, either with Leif Erickson and raiding party, or earlier with humans from Asia to Alaska. It is found as early as 7th century BC in Greece, and Greek texts from the fourth century BC say it’s a plant no respectable Greek kitchen garden, or medicine cabinet, is without. Theophratus called it  “andrákhne” — which might mean “man weed”… any ancient Greek experts can correct me  —  and said April was the best time to plant it.  Slightly sour and mucilaginous — that’s where “milk-bearing” comes in — purslane can be used in salad to soups to omelets. The stems can be pickled. Australian aborigines used the minute seeds to make seed cakes and the Greeks made bread from the seed flour.  Contemporary Greeks call it “Glistritha.”The words “purslane” and “porcelain” have the same source and similar development. Latin for sow (pig) was porca. It was also the Roman slang for the vulva, and the plant was used for uterine complaints.  A diminutive of that, little vulva, became porcillac in Italian to porcellana in old French then to English as purslane. For porcelain, it went from porca to porcella which was the nickname of the cowrie shell because of its vulva-like appearance. In Italian the shell became porcellina. When a glaze was developed for china, it was named after the cowie shell because of its similar shiny appearance and became porcelain then into English as porcelain.Small barrels of edible seeds make the plant extremely prolific

Regardless of what one calls it, purslane contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source in the solar system, and an extraordinary amount for a plant, some 8.5 mg for every gram of weight.  It has vitamin A, B, C and E — six times more E than spinach — beta carotene — seven times more of that than carrots — magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, lithium — keep you sane — iron and is 2.5% protein. Two pigments, one in the leaves and one in the yellow blossoms, have been proven anti-mutagenic in lab studies, meaning they help keep human cells from mutating, which is how cancer gets started. And you get all that for about 15 calories per 100 gram (three ounce) serving. As a mild diuretic, it might even lower your blood pressure as well. Mexicans call it Verdolagao and its name in Malawi translates politely as “buttocks of the chief’s wife”, a possible reference to the plump leaves.

Herny David Thoreau

Over the centuries, many have written about purslane. Even the original Back-to-Nature Guy, Henry David Thoreau, knew of it, penning in 1854 at Walden Pond: “I learned from my two years’ experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one’s necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner . . . simply off a dish of purslane … which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted. . . . Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries but for want of luxuries.”

This fantastic “weed” is virtually underfoot everywhere, including Walden Pond, apparently. One can even find it surviving in places like inner New York City. The strain I grow in my garden came some eleven years ago from a sidewalk crack in Tarpon Springs, FL., a coastal Greek community. There had been a freezing cold snap and it had survived nestled next to a restaurant. I thought something that hardy would be a good addition to my garden. Now I don’t have to plant it. When it comes up I just move to a convenient spot and it re-seeds itself.  I have tried cultivated versions and they simply are not as tasty or prolific as my survivor purslane. By the way, the seeds have a 30-year viable shelf life.

Crete, an island I have come to enjoy and traipse around, is well-known for this purslane salad, flavored with locally-grown capers. The yogurt dressing makes this a cooling repast in hot weather.

* 2 1/2 cups of strained, thick yogurt

* 1 cup of purslane, coarsely chopped

* 1 cup of romaine lettuce, chopped in chunks

* 1 teaspoon of mashed or minced garlic, about one

* 1/4 cup of olive oil

* 3 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

* 2 tablespoons of capers

* salt

* freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl and refrigerate for a half hour to an hour

 

The following recipe is from Diane Kochilas, a well-known Greek chef and writer. She has several publications including “The Greek Vegetarian” for those of you who are. She’s an attractive lass… I wonder if she’s single?

Potato-Purslane Salad

Ingredients

3 medium waxy potatoes, such as Yukon golds or fingerlings, sliced into chunks, about ½ inch thick

salt to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 ½ lemons); alternatively use red wine vinegar

About 1 cup purslane, thoroughly washed, torn or chopped (stems are tangier than leaves, taste first to see if you like)

½ cup red onion, thinly sliced (alternatively, use a few chopped scallions)

Other options:

½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced, into half moon shapes

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

½ cup fresh herbs – mint, parsley, chervil – whatever suits you

Method

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add salt and potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and then pour into a serving bowl, spreading even to cover bottom surface. Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a small dish, whisking until well emulsified, then pour over potatoes. In a layered fashion, add purslane, onion, plus any additional ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir to combine, and taste for salt. Makes enough for two or three as a side dish.

This recipe from Florida’s Incredible Wild Edibles by Dick Deuerling and Peggy S. Lantz

Purslane leaves and stems may be boiled well with just enough water to cover the herbs then discard the first water and pour a smaller amount of hot water over the greens and again boil them. Reduce heat and simmer until tender. Finely chop the herbs and add salt, pepper, vinegar, cinnamon or nutmeg. You can add oil, butter, or bacon fat, and mix with diced hard boiled eggs and put them in a casserole with cheese and bread crumb topping, then bake until cheese melts. Pickled Purslane

1 quart purslane stems and leaves

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1 quart apple cider vinegar

10 peppercorns

Clean the purslane stems and leaves by rinsing with fresh water. Cut into 1″ pieces and place in clean jars with lids. Add the spices and pour the vinegar over the purslane. Keep this in the refrigerator and wait at least two weeks before using. Serve as a side dish with omelets and sandwiches. You can pickle the purslane raw or blanche it for two minutes in boiling water first, but cool off quickly in ice water.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: Smooth, reddish, mostly low-growing stems, alternate spatula leaves clustered at stem joints and ends, yellow flowers, capsule seed pods. Very fleshy. NOT HAIRY. CLEAR SAP. Those are important, not hairy, and clear sap.

TIME OF YEAR: Any time in season, spring and summer in northern climes, year round in warmer areas.

ENVIRONMENT: Nearly any disturbed grass, likes full sun, often grows two crops in Florida, spring and fall, tolerates the summer heat.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Leaves and stems raw in salads, cooked in soups, thick stems pickled. Wild version invariably tasted better than cultivated versions.  Has a slightly sour/salty taste.

Related Post

{ 124 comments… add one }
  • Kim November 6, 2011, 8:42 am

    Dean, I see pink purslane (Portulaca pilosa) all the time. Have you any experience with this one?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Green Deane November 6, 2011, 6:28 pm

      Thanks for writing… I’ve had two people tell me they eat it but 1) I’ve never seen them do it and 2) I don’t eat it. I don’t care for the flavor and it has always irritated my throat when I’ve tried it.

      Reply
      • Judi July 14, 2013, 1:47 am

        I know that some folks sauté it with onion and chili(green) and scrambled eggs

        Reply
  • Kim November 8, 2011, 9:14 pm

    Thanks! Hope to see you Sunday at Mead Gardens…getting ready to register now.

    Reply
    • Theothoros February 3, 2012, 6:48 am

      Hallo Deane greetings from Greece, I sometimes have the free time to read you.
      Great post about “andrakla” or “glistrida” that’s the correct spelling. As you can imagine we gave the names to this and almost in all the weeds from their pharmaceutical properties. Andrakla means that takes out the fear and make you a man.
      Andras means man…
      Glistrida means that when you eat it’s slippery
      Glistro means slip…
      Some other properties is that it takes your thirsty out when you put it down from your tongue, and plus kills the round worms… all these and many more are written from Hippocrates and Dioscourides 2.000 years ago.

      Reply
  • Gudrun B April 3, 2012, 10:04 pm

    love your recipes for the purslane! I used to pick just the top tender leaves and the blossoms, now i know the stems are edible as well 🙂
    My only question is : why do people in this country cook potatoes in a ton of water, already peeled and sliced? for any potato salad i steam mine and peel and slice (less waste, easier to peel and i think it keeps more minerals in)
    can hardly wait for the weed to grow again 🙂

    Reply
    • Green Deane April 4, 2012, 6:04 am

      Good question. I grew up eating “New England Boiled Dinners” every Sunday for decades. My mother was a horrible cook. It was basically a lot of vegetables boiled in a lot of water.

      Reply
    • Cyndi June 21, 2013, 12:28 pm

      I don’t understand why most people throw the peel’s. We eat the peel’s whenever possible. In mashed potatoes and baked as well as many other recipes I keep it in. Rarely will I not feed it to my family. Many, many nutrients are lost by throwing the peels.

      Reply
      • Green Deane June 21, 2013, 1:06 pm

        True with some foods. However, often nature puts the nasty stuff in the peel ’cause there where insects bit first.

        Reply
      • RM McWilliams July 24, 2013, 5:03 pm

        Commerical potatos, I’ve been told, may be treated with a chemical to retard sprouting. The peels of your homegrown potatos are a different matter!

        Reply
      • Lee Tolson June 29, 2014, 5:08 pm

        The only problem with potato skins is when they begin to turn green. This indicates high concentrations of solanine, which is a nerve toxin that develops in the green parts of the nightshade family: potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes. I’ve eaten a bunch of green peels, and gotten sick, so I don’t anymore.

        Reply
  • Toni April 11, 2012, 4:09 pm

    I picked something that looked like purslane. It fits your ID to a “T.” I broke it and there was clear sap. However it is slightly hairy, but it is quite young , it doesn’t have any flowers yet and I am wondering is it ever the least bit hairy when it is young and thin? I’ve studied the spurge photos and it doesn’t look at all like spurge. What is your opinion?

    Reply
    • Green Deane April 11, 2012, 8:51 pm

      Where was the hair on this plant?

      Reply
      • Melba August 16, 2012, 2:56 pm

        I have what appears to be Paraquayan Purslane with hair/fuzz at the joints on the stems and beneath the flowers. Everything else looks the same as what you have described above.

        Reply
        • Diana September 19, 2013, 2:38 pm

          The plants we have growing around us looks basically the same as in the description you have given (and pictures), except it looks like the flowers may be purple. The leaves aren’t quite as fleshy as the picture either. Is this still purslane?

          Reply
          • Green Deane September 19, 2013, 4:02 pm

            It’s propbably portulaca pilosa. I don’t consider that an edible plant.

  • Shulamit July 18, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Purslane is my absolute *favorite* wild plant– and our gardens are growing an *abundant* supply this year in Western Pennsylvania!!! I’m having purslane salad’s daily, and am also finding that tossing them into *any* dish (spaghetti, soup, stirfry….) is *wonderful* also. GREAT to hear that this delicious plant is so *healthy*, too!!! It is *never* bitter (absolutely NO need for that ‘boil in 2 waters’ business in one of the recipes you quote….), stays just as good as ever *all* season, and is so easy to pick– and keeps well in the refrigerator, too. It’s truly a wonderful blessing– thanks for spreading the word on it!

    Reply
  • Ingrid August 28, 2012, 6:05 pm

    What is the ‘shelf life’ of the pickled purslane in the refrigerator?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Green Deane August 28, 2012, 7:29 pm

      If properly picked months if not years.

      Reply
  • Sarah P August 30, 2012, 11:21 pm

    Hi Deane. I live in St. Pete, where there is a lot of Rose Moss growing. It seems to be a relative of purslane. Do you know if that is edible too?

    Reply
    • Green Deane August 31, 2012, 10:36 am

      People have told me they eat it, raw or cooked. It burns my throat and gives me a tummy ache so it is not on my list of edibles.

      Reply
  • name September 12, 2012, 4:50 am

    I love me some fat weed. it even grows in haiti!

    Reply
  • Pam September 29, 2012, 11:13 am

    I purchased some cultivated purslane today. Of course, it has probably been treated with lots of chemicals, and so it’s not what I would consider edible at this time. Any suggestions on collecting seeds, or should I just let it self-seed? (I’m planning on keeping it in a pot for now).

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Green Deane October 1, 2012, 11:40 am

      I would just let it self seed. It does a great job on its own.

      Reply
  • SAM October 23, 2012, 11:40 pm

    CAN PURSLANE HAVE RED OR ANOTHER COLOR BLOSSOM,AND ARE THERE ANY POISONOUS LOOK-ALIKES?

    Reply
    • Green Deane October 24, 2012, 11:48 am

      Some species of Portulaca can have different colored flowers but I would stick with the yellow ones.

      Reply
    • Tourbillion May 8, 2013, 3:05 pm

      I have a weed in my yard that has shiny leaves, looks a lot like purslane. It is not, and may be poisonous. The big differences, stems are green, and the leaves have a slight point. Sap is clear, flowers are purple.

      I think that this is called “ice plant” around here (doesn’t look like the ice plant that I know though).

      Fortunately, my supermarket (Top-Value) caters to ethnics and has “verdolagas” at the moment. So purslane pancakes here we come!

      Reply
  • elena October 30, 2012, 11:06 am

    can you tell me why the clear sap and not hairy properties are important? i see a question in the thread but not an answer…

    thanks… great article!

    Reply
    • Green Deane October 30, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Because if the plant has milky sap and is hairy it is a totally different plant and probably one (a spurge) that will make you sick.

      Reply
  • Mao January 13, 2013, 3:25 pm

    How much daily or weekly Purslane does an average adult needs to consume to supply more than enough of the ALA or EPA requirements? is it around 22 kilos?

    Reply
  • Bob James March 2, 2013, 8:51 pm

    I’m ready to devote my back yard to this stuff! Where can I find some to hijack?

    Reply
    • RM McWilliams July 23, 2013, 9:47 pm

      Bob- In case you have not yet found a source for purslane, don’t give up! As Deane says, it grows almost ‘everywhere’.

      See the eattheweeds video on purslane on YouTube (if you have not already), and other reliable sources for good photos to help you spot it. Then be on the lookout whenever you are outside, in city or country. (You are least likely to find it in ‘well manicured’ suburban areas.) Disturbed soils, in flower beds, along sidewalks, eatc.

      Purslane just ‘showed up’ at my homem though it was nowhere to be seen when we first arrived, and we are surrounded by woods; first in dry areas with gravel soil where there was almost no competition, then in areas of richer soil that was also mostly bare (fresh compost). But it is easy to transplant from wherever you find it. If the original plant does not survive, it usually goes rapidly to seed (using water stores in leaves and stems), and you will soon have the next generation.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
      • Margaret July 30, 2014, 3:20 pm

        I wished for a while that some would “show up.” I haven’t seen it growing wild in TN although it probably does, so I gave up and went to a garden store and found some among the flowers. I bought those that said “portulaca oleracea” on the tab. They do sell other varieties, like portulaca grandiflora, for producing more and larger flowers. I bought three plants, one yellow, one red, and one orange, and all of them said oleracea. We’ll see if they come back. I hope they will. Have you seen information that the nutritional content varies by what time of day they are harvested? At least wikipedia says so, so it must be so, right? I notice they do have a more sour taste if picked early in the day. I’m enjoying trying new things. I have so much to learn, and I’m already in my 50s. Oh my. I just read on a forum that portulaca is a good companion plant to tomatoes. Does anyone have any experience trying to grow them together?

        Reply
        • Green Deane July 30, 2014, 6:59 pm

          I don’t know if other than yellow blossom ones are edible or not.

          Reply
  • farouk March 28, 2013, 7:02 pm

    Being my favourable dish , I should like to introduce you to an example of Sudanese food.: Purslane or “Rigla” dish which could be served with bread; but “Kisra” from sorgum is preferred. To be brief I suggest the following components to be “processed” in the cookjng pot in the same sequence they are written : vegetable oil, thinly chopped onion, beef or lamb meat – chopped, water, lentils (not much ) , roughly chopped tomatoes(or tomato sauce) , thinly chopped bunches of Purslane – collected before blooming, a small bunch of Fennel feniculum – thinly chopped, salt, coriander, black pepper and minced garlic. the last item can be added hot fried in vegetable oil,

    Reply
  • Ray Wunderlich III April 4, 2013, 11:15 pm

    Hi Dean, Love your site. Any problems or concerns with bio-accumulation activity of heavy metals that we cannot taste in Portulaca or any other popular wild edible?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  • Nermina April 17, 2013, 9:01 am

    Can’t wait for summer time here in Florida so that I can enjoy purslane ! I noticed it is refusing to grow until April. I make stew with it but it tastes best in salads with chopped onions and cooked potatoes.

    Reply
  • Diane May 6, 2013, 6:48 pm

    Several questions.
    1) How does one PROPERLY pick purslane to make it last in the refrigerator?
    2) Are the seed pods tasty? Or is it important to pick them all out during food prep?
    3) I’m having a vision of eating the stems/leaves/pods raw and having little black seeds burst out and cover everything. Any more comments about the seed pods?

    Reply
    • Green Deane May 7, 2013, 9:31 am

      I don’t think the picking method makes much of a difference as to it storage. The seeds are nearly flavorless but edible. The little barrels of seeds don’t burst. They open and drop. The most threat the seeds provide is getting caught between your teeth.

      Reply
  • PJ Ruben May 10, 2013, 8:59 pm

    Deane,
    I noticed a purslane plant growing freely in one of my small beds the other day. My friend recently gave me some purslane that he had potted up which led me to compare it to the one growing naturally. Although they look almost exactly the same the one in my bed as somewhat of a bitter sorrel taste that the potted one does not. Is this plant growing in my bed purslane as well or just morphologically similar? If so what species do you think I have here?

    Reply
    • Green Deane May 11, 2013, 6:36 am

      What color are the flowers?

      Reply
      • PJ Ruben May 11, 2013, 10:28 pm

        No flowers yet, but looks like they are about to bud. What should I be looking for?

        Reply
  • Anne May 12, 2013, 9:11 am

    When the heat of summer makes many greens bitter.. purslane is still mild. The stems are also so mild flavored- so they pick up the pickling liquid’s flavor very easily. I make mixed vegetable fridge pickles in 1/2 gallon jars (the purslane is always the first thing my family fishes out of the jar and devours.) They make their way into our salads and the stems also into stirfry.

    We pick it early in the morning. The residual heat from the sun causes a lot of things you pick to wilt quickly. Spraying it with cold water or plunging it in cold water right after picking pulls the heat out of them and keep them more crisp.

    Reply
  • robert May 24, 2013, 8:25 pm

    I have some growing in South Florida and it is tasty. From reading the above comments it seems Purslane is an annual the re-seeds easily. Does anyone know if it will make it through our hot summer?

    Reply
  • Corner Garden Sue June 7, 2013, 9:55 am

    I like it when I am in one spot on the internet, then end up reading an older blog post. I enjoyed this one. I had to laugh, yet feel sad about the elderly lady not wanting to eat a weed.

    Over the years, I have munched on purslane while gardening, but rarely bring it inside to fix anything with. I didn’t realize how good it is for us, so, I better start using it more. Ours is just coming up, and I need to figure out where I’m going to let it grow, because I am not going to give it the amount of space it is trying to claim right now.

    Reply
  • Mary July 10, 2013, 10:43 am

    Beautiful memories of laying in the grass in Yarmouth near the Royal River and munching on purslane many years ago. Never realizing until now how healthy it was. Very interesting site.

    Reply
    • Green Deane July 10, 2013, 3:15 pm

      I grew up around the Royal and never quite figured out why it was called the Royal River…. there really isn’t much majestic about it.

      Reply
  • Diamond July 22, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Wonderful information on purslane… I was nibbling a small leaf to try it with another gardener questioning whether it was edible… little did I know the riches I held in my hand… we went our ways and left our small community gardens in Boulder City, Nevada… my friend found your website/blog site… !!!!!!!!!

    Much gratitude to you and what you have made available, I am looking forward to trying the many recipes.

    Reply
  • kelly July 27, 2013, 12:14 pm

    I always seem to find things at the perfect time! Just the other day I was in one of my gardens weeding, and came across this adorable little plant that was just too pretty to pull. And then somehow a link to this blog post ended up on my Facebook newsfeed. Now I’m going to weed back a little further and try to create a new patch for my new found friend!
    Thanks for a great article!

    Reply
    • RM McWilliams August 9, 2013, 12:47 pm

      Purslane may make a good ‘live mulch’ for many of your other garden plants. As you probably know, most plants grow better in plant communities than surrounded by bare soil, or even mulch. The trick may be finding which are synergistic, and which are antagonistic! 🙂 As you say, it’s very attractive, and so useful!

      Reply
  • Ryan August 12, 2013, 10:11 pm

    Mistook spurge for purslane, before I could even swallow it my mouth felt aweful. I assume it was similar to a chemical burn due to the high alkaline content.

    Reply
    • Wyandotte July 25, 2014, 1:44 am

      Spurge and purslane don’t even look remotely alike.

      Reply
  • Ellen September 2, 2013, 1:01 pm

    We get a weed in our garden that fits the pictures and description perfectly, except that the leaves are opposite instead of alternate, and I have never seen the flower.

    What could it be?

    Reply
  • Emily Lorenzo September 16, 2013, 10:15 am

    Hello, Green Deane! I’ve enjoyed many of your videos and have happily also viewed them with my mother and my sweetheart. They both have very much enjoyed the videos, too. Thanks for all you do! I am writing to ask about when I can eat some purslane that I found by the dumpster in my apartment complex. I’d say it’s been a couple months since I dug up three small plants and replanted them in a pot. They have increased in size quite a bit. Can we start eating them now? Also, will the roots outgrow the pot?

    Reply
    • Green Deane September 16, 2013, 8:58 pm

      Oh yeah…. the’ve grown in a more wholesome environment. It wouldn’t bother me.

      Reply
  • D F October 6, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Something eating the leaves on my purslane leaves. Looks like small white worms. They are destroying the whole patch. Any way to treat them? Please help thanks

    Reply
  • Redbird Fan November 14, 2013, 11:12 pm

    Stumbled into your site, while searching for apple cider information. Thank you very much! … then, noticed with interest your quotation from Thoreau’s words about purslane. Purslane is regularly found, without being planted, in plots at Concord’s oldest community garden location — perhaps a mile from Thoreau’s old corn patch. I was lucky enough that the first person I asked about weed identification, when a first time gardener there, showed me purslane and told me that it was edible. I take some home with me after every weeding session, and let it grow in some spots in my plot where I think it is not competing much with the planted veggies and herbs. Delicious! A local organic farm stand has sold some of it from time to time.

    Reply
  • Dick Estes January 5, 2014, 11:26 am

    What about the edibility of the violet purslanes- we have more of them here in Florida than the yellow

    Reply
    • Green Deane January 6, 2014, 7:47 pm

      I think you mean Portulaca pilosa. I don’t eat it because it burns my throat and upsets my stomach. I have had people tell me they eat it but I can’t personally verify that. My advice is leave it alone. If you try it, you are on your own.

      Reply
  • Josie February 26, 2014, 5:16 am

    Thank you for the wealth of information. I have only recently discovered
    Purslane when I bought a bunch from my local
    Organic green grocer. I put it in my green smoothie, of course
    with all the other ingredients, I hardly notice the purslane taste.
    No matter, I know it’s good for me.

    Reply
  • Tom March 16, 2014, 10:51 pm

    I am very impressed with your site, and especially the diligence with which you answer the questions–sometimes the same one again and again.

    I would like to take some wild purslane and cultivate it. But, around here at least, it *really * likes to hug the ground tightly and sprawl loosely, not only making a huge footprint but letting a lot of light pass through to the dirt below. Not very productive in a garden I thought of trying to train it to grow up a trellis or something similar, but my gut says it will object strenuously to this treatment. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Green Deane March 31, 2014, 12:52 pm

      It does not climb.

      Reply
    • Peggy January 20, 2015, 10:30 am

      Sown (or self sown) thickly, portulaca will self support to grow a bit over a foot tall. The leaves stay clean and is very to pick when grown like this.

      If you want to let it sprawl, maybe it would grow in a large hanging basket? I think it would look nice trailing over the edge of something hanging, and once again, it would be easy to pick nice clean leaves.

      Reply
  • david mckenna March 24, 2014, 8:49 pm

    I bought a house a year ago. I started to weed the front yard. later a friend told me that they are edible. yuou can buy the seeds on amazon

    Reply
  • matt April 23, 2014, 7:19 am

    Is Portulacaria afra( Elephant bush) equally as edible?
    I have been searching for true purslane and mistook afra as a false positive at my local homedepot succulent section. I saw an article suggesting one may juice it but nobody has suggested its a good purslane replacement

    Reply
  • sue June 7, 2014, 2:30 pm

    It is called “Paruppu Keerai” in tamil. It is used in cooking for hundreds of years. We use it just like any other greens cooked along with lentils and eaten with rice or chappathi.

    Reply
  • Susan D June 24, 2014, 5:57 pm

    I live in Mexico and at the flea and markets grocery stores you can buy Purslane in abundance and so cheap. Also pig weed or quelite has become my favorite green to eat. Even here many people especially the younger generation do not know or appreciate its benefits.

    Reply
  • Anna June 28, 2014, 9:19 pm

    Thanks Green Deane..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your blog is fantastic…..so is your knowledge…I’m a NEW PERSLANE LOVER….and all your comments and recipes are greatly appreciated!!!
    YOU MAD MY DAY,,!!!!!!
    THANKS…ANNA

    Reply
  • Helene Smith August 10, 2014, 9:48 am

    To a fellow devotee of purslane,

    I learned about eating wild plants called “weeds’ from Euell Gibbons decades ago while I was on a panel discussing wild plants in Eastern Pennsylvania (Landis Valley). I purchased several books from him including Stalking the Wild Asparagus. Your article is great!

    By the way I included a dialogue between two characters discussing the value of purslane in my drama, Where Eagles Fly, a mystery and love story about a homeless war veteran entrepreneur.

    Helene Smith, historian and author of 50 published books based on history, together with novels and poetry. My blog site is helenesmith1.blog spot.com

    Reply
  • Richard September 17, 2014, 2:24 am

    I have previously seen that purslane is suppose to have omega-3 as you state but the USDA does not agree.

    http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2604/2

    Reply
    • Green Deane September 17, 2014, 2:38 am

      This is from the same mindless government idiots that sent us down the anti-fat highway creating the obesity and diabetes epidemic. The government has an atrocious history when it comes to food advice. It is also severely wrong about purslane. A 1992 study found it in “rich” in omega 3 fatty acids and antixoidants.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1354675

      Reply
      • Todd December 17, 2014, 8:28 pm

        I would think that the amount of vitamins and other good stuff in a plant is based on the plants availability to absorb the stuff and how much is in the soil to be absorbed by the plant. I was told Wheat grass has a huge range of vitamins depending on the soil. Any thoughts.

        Reply
        • RM McWilliams July 7, 2015, 2:13 pm

          An excellent observation, Todd. Many things can affect the nutrient content of any given plant.
          ‘Brix’ is a measurement of plant sap or juices from crushed leaves, usually used to measure the sugars present- but it also reflects other nutrients present. The brix/sugars are shown to be higher in the afternoon than in the morning, apparently because the plant uses up the sugars at night and replenishes them during the day via photosyntesis.
          Definately the nutrients /minerals available to plants will affect the nutrient levels present in the plant tissues. At least one lab offers plant tissue testing to help eco-farmers figure out what their soils need.
          Nutrients and minerals are made available to plants by bacteria and fungi living in the soil. Dr. Elaine Ingham, a soil scientist, of Soil Food Web says that basically all soils have the minerals plants need- IF the soil life is healthy. (Her video on the Savory Institute channel on YouTube is enlightening to anyone interested in growing plants, managing grazing animals (graziers), or those who just enjoy learning about how our ecosystems really function.)

          Reply
  • Brandon September 17, 2014, 1:23 pm

    I have quite a few of these growing in my backyard. They like to pretty much fill in any gaps in my garden. I have known for a while now that they are edible but today I plan to try it for the first time. Hopefully I will like it.

    Reply
  • Helen September 23, 2014, 12:09 pm

    Is there a way to store purslane over winter that keeps the nutrients intact? I have an overabundance in my garden and don’t’ want to see it go to waste.

    Reply
    • Green Deane September 23, 2014, 1:47 pm

      Blanch and freeze comes to mind.

      Reply
  • Nikki January 23, 2015, 7:19 am

    Hello
    I received “Grapara leaves” from Japan (see pics on google images) seem so much bigger. Could someone confirm that these are identical to Purslane leaves ? Also, can I find them in Europe ?
    Thank you for your help

    Reply
    • Green Deane January 23, 2015, 8:20 pm

      I am having a problem reconciling photos and local names. Grapara can mean Punarva and Punarva is purslane. However leaves that I have seen on the internet called “grapara” are not purslane. So, I don’t know what a pictures you are looking at. We have a UFO page on the Green Deane Forum for posting pictures.

      Reply
  • Charzie February 13, 2015, 1:17 pm

    Finally, something that I am familiar with from Connecticut that also grows here in S Florida? OMG! I used to love this stuff but didn’t even realize I can find it here! I’ve been busy gobbling the nopales, because they are so plentiful, but I am definitely going on a quest for purslane! My most recent foray was with the Bidens, which, since it has taken over the yard, I figure I might as well get some use from it! It wasn’t half bad, I was just surprised at how long I had to cook it to make it palatable to someone with less than stellar choppers! The taste though, rivaled any green I could buy! I love to forage, it is satisfying on so many levels!

    Reply
  • Kevin March 8, 2015, 12:46 pm

    Hey there,
    I have been growing and eating purslane for a few years now and am now looking at growing a plot of it for chicken forage! I am curious as to where you got the fatty acid content as well as the other vitamins? Would this resource happen to have the nutritional content for other “weeds” like nettles? Thanks for any information!
    -Kevin C

    Reply
    • Green Deane May 19, 2015, 4:53 pm

      I use an older book called Food Values first published in the 1930s.

      Reply
  • Robert MacElvain April 23, 2015, 8:13 am

    Gee!

    All this interest in Purslane (miners’ spinach), and virtually no place to purchase the live plants (while seeds available all over the Internet).

    Robert

    Reply
    • Green Deane April 23, 2015, 1:57 pm

      Never heard it called “miner’s spinach.” As for plants, they grow all over the place.

      Reply
  • Tariq Hossenbux May 18, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Being in Canada, I don’t see this in the grocery stores. I used to eat it when I found it outside almost instinctively though so i recall the nice taste. I am surprised it took me this long to learn about the great nutritional benefits though. Thanks for the great recipes!

    Reply
  • Kelly June 9, 2015, 8:26 am

    Hi I have a few tubs of glistrida and love it,first time this yr I have grown my own. My question is what color are the flowers as I have read they are meant to be yellow,but I have a pink flower. Is it edible to eat . Many thanks

    Reply
    • Green Deane June 9, 2015, 10:02 am

      What size pink flowers? And are the leaves cylindrical? It might be Moss Rose.

      Reply
      • Kelly June 9, 2015, 1:26 pm

        they are only little flowers, about the size if a daisy … What is moss rose. When I brought the plant they told me it was glistrida

        Reply
  • Shlomiel Rahm June 18, 2015, 11:19 pm

    Hello Deane,
    Do you know how to preserve purselane and its omega 3 besides pickling it?

    Reply
    • Mary August 25, 2016, 7:50 am

      I saw a YouTube video where a guy showed his process of harvesting and preserving. Basically, rinse in water, drain, rinse again with a salt wash, then freeze in freezer bags with the salt residue until ready to use. I throw some in our smoothies every day. I’ve also used it fresh in soups and omelets.

      Reply
  • Alisa Schultz June 26, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Hi Deane, my son an I love your videos! I have identified Purslane and we have enjoyed it, but I have noticed another plant growing right along with the purslane that also has the succulent look, which is shaped kind of similar. It hasn’t flowered yet, but it has thick stems, but there is pink on them instead of red, and the leaves are not as thick as purslane but they are much broader, almost round, and on the underside they have a translucent, silver/pink/green shimmer. They are hairless, and have clear sap. Is this also a purslane or something else?

    Reply
    • Green Deane June 29, 2015, 6:08 pm

      I think I answered this elsewhere. It might be Portulaca pilosa, a species I do not consider edible.

      Reply
  • Kai August 22, 2015, 4:53 pm

    Hi Green Deane,
    Thanks for your site.
    in regards to : ” Two pigments, one in the leaves and one in the yellow blossoms, have been proven anti-mutagenic in lab studies, meaning they help keep human cells from mutating, which is how cancer gets started. And you get all that for about 15 calories per 100 gram (three ounce) serving. “.. where can I find further info on this?
    I have a bundant purslane growing in my back yard in Florida and eat a hand full every day for chest issues. I am wondering how much is actually edible> How much is 3 oz.. and is that every day? or 3 times a day ? 🙂 🙂 🙂
    whats your thoughts… ?

    Reply
    • wanda twining-jones June 19, 2016, 1:27 pm

      I have oral lichen planus. My dental hygenist said she thinks purslane might help clear it up. Could this true?

      Reply
      • Korrina July 23, 2016, 12:28 pm

        I couldn’t find any references to what AMA based medicine uses to treat or what is thought to cause this, but I can assure you that this common weed is a pleasant to eat vegetable, and that it contains MANY nutrients that we need… I would try to get some if I were you, but be sure to try to use it raw rather than cooked, as some of the nutrients are heat sensitive… I like to pick it the night before I’ll use it, and marinade it with tomatoes, etc…

        Reply
  • M5th September 9, 2015, 8:53 am

    We moved in March to a new house. I remember this “weed” in my other house and all I knew was it was good for chickens. Is this the same weed? Now in my new house, I haven’t seen it growing anywhere. Just a lot of nut grass, ugh!

    Reply
    • Richard April 13, 2016, 1:20 am

      M5th — The nut grass you mention is very likely Yellow Nutsedge (or purple nutsedge?) and is edible. Almost the size of peanuts, they are usually roasted. They taste a little like almonds. Pernicious as they are, like most weeds there is a history somewhere, sometime, of having been grown and harvested before earning a reputation of “weed.”

      Reply
  • Courtney September 10, 2015, 1:41 pm

    May I ask where the information came from about purslane’s omega 3 content? I can’t find any nutritional data to support that it has any (USDA, http://nutritiondata.self.com, etc.) but I do see several articles sight this but with not reference to back it up. Just curious and trying to make sure it’s true!!

    Reply
    • chris September 16, 2015, 11:05 am

      Look on Pubmed. Purslane, Omega 3

      Reply
  • Max September 13, 2015, 1:01 pm

    I container garden in hot dry California conditions. I use purslane in container gardening around the edges of my planters to prevent the sun from baking the moisture out of my soil. The mat of purslane is like a layer of insulation for the soil. Elsewhere I use a topical layer of wood chips and/or hay. I keep the purslane trimmed/eaten, so it doesn’t compete much with my main crops. It tends to colonize small areas and not get too invasive unless you give it many months or years untamed. Great salad addition.

    Reply
  • Cristian Sarabia September 15, 2015, 12:46 pm

    In the Los Angeles area, you can find purslane at all you’re Mexican markets. And you can get some nice recipes from your local shoppers.

    Reply
    • Green Deane September 15, 2015, 2:15 pm

      That is the point, isn’t it. They sell it everywhere in Mexico, you have to go to speciality markets in the US to find it. It’s not a common produce, unfortunately.

      Reply
  • fuz42 September 15, 2015, 2:28 pm

    “Buttocks of the chief’s wife” Im still laughing!

    Reply
  • shanarose September 20, 2015, 2:57 pm

    i would love to make purslane a specialty crop to sell to restaurants in the area. would you know if anyone grows this commercially? i have a home based plant nursery but growing purslane commercially seems like such a great idea to me. i love purslane and have known of its nutritional value for years. so sad it is classified as a weed, much like the dandelion. two great foods. i would love to elevate the purslane to the status it deserves …..

    Reply
    • Green Deane September 21, 2015, 9:58 am

      There is a commercial variety you can buy seeds for. It is called Purslane Goldberger.

      Reply
  • Virginia September 23, 2015, 6:25 pm

    I found this growing in a box of dirt where I am growing a lemon tree from a seed; found it to be an attractive weed and gave it it’s own pot. I’m going to go have a little taste right now!

    Reply
  • Mike Pellerin September 29, 2015, 1:23 am

    I’ve tried growing this from seed several times. I get the plants to the second set of leaves stage, then they just flop over and die. I live in Central MA. I get good sun, plenty of water and was using new soil.

    I find some wild around here, but the areas are too polluted to take plants/cuttings from.

    Reply
    • Green Deane September 29, 2015, 6:26 am

      I have found the commercial version of purslane to be disappointing. As for wild purslane you can certainly collect the seeds from “polluted” one and grow edible plants from them. Or, transplant some of those “polluted” ones into your yard and let them grow and seed. The next crop will be edible.

      Reply
  • Claudia October 28, 2015, 7:53 pm

    Can you eat too much of purslane and is there another plant that can be confused for purslane?

    Reply
    • Green Deane October 28, 2015, 11:48 pm

      Hmmmm…not unintentionally… there is no accounting for extremism. There are several spurges that resemble purslane but they have white sap. There are other Portulacas which I think are not edible but they are not deadly or sickening beyond minor symptoms.

      Reply
  • Proud Gramma January 6, 2016, 12:28 pm

    I live in S FL and had been looking everywhere for this favorite from up north, and finally found it growing out of a crack in pavement in a flooded area of a parking lot! Crazy! I recently found another growing in another parking lot area this time in the mulched beds, and took both home. Though they are both definitely purslane, one has a larger and more open growth, paler stem, and tends to seed and lose it’s leaves, where the other is more compact with a red stem, and has not died back like the other one. I’ve had them for almost a year so it isn’t just the environment I took them from like I first thought. Are there different types that you know of?.

    Reply
    • Green Deane January 6, 2016, 2:34 pm

      Thanks for writing. There is a cultivated version but even among wild versions they appearance can vary a lot.

      Reply
  • donna August 29, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I bought mine at walmart today is this the same ? edible I do know it is beautiful to look at , how do you know which is edible ?

    Reply
  • rachel January 4, 2017, 10:55 am

    Hi there – do you have suggestions where I can purchase the actual herb for eating? many thanks for your help, Rachel.

    Reply
  • Ena scott July 7, 2017, 10:29 pm

    How much is 3 oz? 1/4 –1/3–1/2–cup? How much to eat each day to get right amount of omega 3’s?

    Reply
  • kw July 19, 2017, 9:30 pm

    Apparently Nature is trying to tell me something… purslane has been OVERTAKING my garden! I’ve been throwing it out for the past 2-3 years until I learned how nutritious it is. My garden is like a carpet of purslane! I picked a lot (too much, as I got tired of picking leaves off, but now I’ll try eating the stems). From now on I’ll just let it grow, I’ll try not to step on it, and pick as needed. Maybe I’ll save some seeds just in case I pick it to death this year. So far I had it 2 ways: in an Indian dal dish with red adzuki beans, and in a cold chickpea salad with celery, onions, and mayo (& mustard, S&P; the “fake tuna” you may see here & there). I am so happy to know such a healthy thing is abundant right under my nose 🙂 Thanks for your article.

    Reply
  • L. Conrad July 30, 2017, 11:51 am

    We have way too much purslane in garden it is free if anyone wants to pick your own – Kenilworth Ontario

    Reply
  • Karen Juten July 30, 2017, 9:12 pm

    The recipe you gave for boiling throwing the water out and then cooking, and cooking….Me thinks you know that the vitamins and omega 3’s probably didn’t fare well after all of that cooking. Eat fresh? In a salad?

    Reply
    • Green Deane July 31, 2017, 5:53 pm

      I usually eat it raw. That said, cooking in water does not affect its omega 3 content nor vitamin A.

      Reply
  • Karen Juten July 30, 2017, 9:13 pm

    Great article.

    Reply
  • Lynette November 29, 2017, 7:33 am

    Good morning to everyone from a bright and sunny South Africa. I have been waiting for what I think is Purslane to appear after a few days of welcome rain. And yes, this morning it appeared all the way down my drive way. Hooray, I hope. I called my mom who is 80 and a cancer patient that has also been suffering from high blood pressure to come and see and told her that I read up about this and that the wonderful plant has yellow flowers. She said that she always removed it and that she thought it was a weed. She said that this weed has a blue flower. I have not seen the flower yet but need to know that it is safe to consume. I would be so sad if it is anything other that Purslane. Please can someone tell me. It definitely does not have the markings of splurge.

    Reply

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