Ontario Weeds: Purslane
Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Purslane, Portulaca oleracea
Other Names: Portulaca, Pursley, Pusley,
Pussley, Wild portulaca, pourpier potager, pourpier gras
Family: Purslane Family (Portulacacae)
General Description: Annual, reproducing
only by seed. A low-growing or prostrate plant with succulent reddish
stems, thick leaves and small flowers. Stems and leaves flat on
the ground or slightly raised, 2-3cm (1in.) high.
Photos and Pictures
Purslane. A. Seedling. B. Plant.
Stems & Roots: Stems - very fleshy
or watery, smooth, reddish-green to purplish-red, repeatedly branched
and often forming circular mats 30-60cm (1-2ft) in diameter or larger.
Leaves: Cotyledons (seed leaves) of
emerging seedlings 2-5mm (1/12-1/5in.) long, and half or less wide,
thick, fleshy and reddish- reddish-green on a bright red stalk;
leaves mostly alternate (1 per node) except the first few apparently
opposite (2 per node), and those near the tips of branches crowded
together; all leaves flat but thick and fleshy, deep green to reddish-green,
broadest near the rounded or squared tip and narrowed towards the
base, completely hairless.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers small,
5-10mm (1/5-2/5in.) across, in axils of stem leaves or near the
tips of branches, opening only on bright sunny mornings with 5 small,
pale yellow petals which soon fall off, 6-10 tiny yellowish stamens
and 1 pistil; seedpods nearly spherical, about 5mm (1/5in.) in diameter,
opening by a slit that goes all the way around the seedpod just
below the middle so the top part comes off as a lid; seeds numerous,
flattened, rounded or somewhat kidney-shaped, about 0.6mm (1/40in.)
across, black and shiny. Flowers from July to September.
Habitat: Purslane is one of the most
common weeds in gardens throughout Ontario, occurring also in row
crops, waste areas and edges of driveways but not surviving under
heavy shade and thus rarely seen in grainfields, hay fields or pastures.
The very fleshy nature of Purslane enables it to continue flowering
and ripening seeds for several days after being hoed or uprooted.
Though rarely producing roots from the stem, if even a small portion
of the root of an uprooted plant touches the soil, it can grow a
new root system and become re-established.
Similar Species: Purslane is distinguished
from similar prostrate plants by its reddish, fleshy stem with watery
juice, its fleshy, thick, greenish leaves without teeth, its small
flowers with yellow petals and its small, inconspicuous, spherical
seedpods which open with a circular lid, scattering many tiny black
pigweed has a tougher stem, thin leaves, and tiny greenish flowers
in somewhat spiny clusters in axils of leaves. The prostrate annual
spurges have thinner stems and leaves, and all plant parts contain
a white milky juice that is never found in Purslane.
... on general Weed
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA
Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA
Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control
to the Ontario Weeds Gallery |