Portulaca is a fast-growing annual, it almost looks like a succulent. Most of us would have seen this weed popping up in the flower bed or on the roadside. Instead of pulling out this weed we can make good use of this plant.
Purslane can be grown from seeds or stem cuttings. They can thrive in any kind of soil and are drought resistant. This plant grows only few inches long almost like a ground cover. The stems are red/pink in color and the yellow flowers are formed at the tip of the stem.
You wont find this plant in supermarket aisle. If you want to enjoy this plant, you have to forage or grow by yourself. The seeds of this plants are included in many seed catalogs. Its so easy to propagate from cuttings. If you find this plant spreading out in your flower beds try growing them in pots.
The flowers will open on sunny days for a few hours then the seeds are formed in small oblong caps. You can also pinch off the stem along with leaves to before seeds are formed.
Once the roots are set deep they don’t need any care in terms of water or fertilizer. For the most part they are not bothered by pests. They can be used raw, stir fried, stews or in smoothies. The younger shoots can be used along with the leaves and flowers. Throw on the salads with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, lemon juice and pepper. For older shoots use only the leaves. The leaves can also be stir-fried.
Purslane can’t tolerate frost, so don’t forget to collect some seeds for next growing season. But if the winter is mild, new plants can pop up from the seeds set by previous year plant.
Here is a picture of purslane growing in the sidewalk as a weed.