Common purslane

Portulaca oleracea L.

Life cycle

Prostrate, mat-forming summer annual.

purslane plant
Common purslane plant.

Leaves

Cotyledons are oblong, hairless and succulent. Cotyledons and young leaves are maroon-tinted on the undersides. Thick, fleshy, succulent leaves are hairless, spatula-shaped and about 1 inch long or less. Leaves are alternate but appear opposite and are often crowded near the stem tips.

purslane seedling
Common purslane seedling.

Stems

Prostrate, purplish red or green stems have multiple branches that form circular mats. Stems are thick, fleshy, succulent and hairless and up to 20 inches long.

Flowers and fruit

Small, yellow, star-shaped flowers with five petals are produced in the leaf axils, opening only on sunny mornings. Fruit are egg-shaped capsules that split around the middle, scattering many tiny, black, shiny seeds.

purslane fruit
Common purslane fruit.

Reproduction

Seeds.

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