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Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

This plant is a well-known weed, also referred to as the HogWeed. It was used back in historical times as a medicinal plant. So what is this plant? And why is it often used in salads? Let's look at the science!

Physical Description and Behavior

The Purslane has smooth, even reddish leaves and stems. The stems only grows about 9 inches into the air, but can spread out up to a foot and a half. At the end of these stems often blooms a flower that can have 5 petals. While these small flowers bloom in the mornings, they are only open for a few hours before closing again.

Their roots are very fibrous and have many secondary roots. This allows it to be able to tolerate locations where the water content or soil quality is low. Because of this, they are likely to grow just about anywhere, such as in gardens of lawns, thus having many people consider this plant to be a weed.

A good thing about this plant is that it is edible. Many people to this day use it in salads and other forms. 100 grams of Purslane has 20 calories, mostly Carbohydrates, and provides quite a lot of Vitamin E and Vitamin C. That is not to say you should go around eating random plants, but if you needed to, this might be a good option.

Habitat and Location

This plant can be found on almost every continent in the world with the exception of Greenland and Antarctica. It has been known to be in the Americas since 1350, eating as a food by the Native American. But it is not know how exactly the weed got to the Americas.

Find more information on this plant by watching the video below:

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