Portulaca oleracea (common purslane, also known as duckweed, little hogweed, or pursley) is an annual (actually tropical perennial in USDA growing zones 10-11) succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which may reach 40 cm (16 in) in height. Approximately forty cultivars are currently grown.
There are likely thousands of names for the purslane plant in various languages from the many human cultures that have eaten the plant as a nutritious herb throughout history.
Purslane has an extensive distribution, assumed to be mostly anthropogenic (or hemerochoric), extending from North Africa and Southern Europe through the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to Malesia and Australasia. The species status in the Americas is uncertain. In general, it is often considered an exotic weed, but there is evidence that the species was in Crawford Lake deposits (Ontario) in 1350–1539, suggesting that it reached North America in the pre-Columbian era. Scientists suggested that the plant was already eaten by native Americans, who spread its seeds. How it reached the Americas is currently unknown.
Purslane has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and the leaves, which may be alternate or opposite, are clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm (0.24 in) wide. Depending upon rainfall, the flowers appear at any time during the year. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. The tiny seeds are formed in a pod, which opens when the seeds are mature. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor soil and drought.
The fruits are many-seeded capsules. Seed set is considerable; one plant can develop up to 193,000 seeds. The seeds germinate optimally at a temperature above 25 °C; they are light germinators, with even a soil cover of 5 mm having a negative effect on germination.
The first publication of Portulaca oleracea was in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum. Due to the great variability, a large number of subspecies and varieties have been described as species of their own, but according to other publications, they all fall within the range of variation of Portulaca oleracea. The synonyms Portulaca oleracea subsp. sativa, Portulaca sativa, and Portulaca oleracea var. sativa, which are more common in the literature, refer to a somewhat more robust form in cultivation with larger seeds that cannot be separated from the species.
P. oleracea is one of very few plants able to utilize both CAM and C4 photosynthesis pathways, for a long time believed to be incompatible with each other despite biochemical similarities. P. oleracea will switch from C4 to CAM pathways during times of drought and there is transcription regulation and physiological evidence for C4-CAM hybrid photosynthesis during mild drought.
Pests and diseases
Compared to other common crops P. oleracea is more tolerant towards pests due to its waxy cover which protects the plant from insects and diseases. In some instances P. oleracea is even known to have antifungal properties. However some phytotoxic metabolites of Drechslera indica can cause necrosis on purslance. Dichotomophthora portulacae can cause stem rot.
Schizocerella pilicornis and Hypurus bertrandi are known to feed on Portulaca oleracea. In some instances they may help control the competitiveness of Portulaca oleracea to prevent weed infestation in fields where Portulaca oleracea is not wanted, however they do not stop it from growing completely.
Purslane is widely used in East Mediterranean countries. Archaeobotanical finds are common at many prehistoric sites. In historic contexts, seeds have been retrieved from a protogeometric layer in Kastanas, as well as from the Samian Heraion dating to seventh century BC. In the fourth century BC, Theophrastus names purslane, andrákhne (ἀνδράχνη), as one of the several summer pot herbs that must be sown in April (Enquiry into Plants 7.1.2). As Portulaca it figures in the long list of comestibles enjoyed by the Milanese given by Bonvesin de la Riva in his "Marvels of Milan" (1288).
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||84 kJ (20 kcal)|
|Vitamin A||1320 IU|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA FoodData Central
Purslane may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. William Cobbett noted that it was "eaten by Frenchmen and pigs when they can get nothing else. Both use it in salad, that is to say, raw". It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible raw or cooked. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews. The sour taste is due to oxalic and malic acid, the latter of which is produced through the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway that is seen in many xerophytes (plants living in dry conditions), and is at its highest when the plant is harvested in the early morning.
Aboriginal Australians use the seeds of purslane to make seedcakes. Greeks, who call it andrákla (αντράκλα) or glistrída (γλιστρίδα), use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. They add it in salads, boil it, or add it to casseroled chicken. In Turkey, besides being used in salads and in baked pastries, it is cooked as a vegetable similar to spinach, or is mixed with yogurt to form a tzatziki variant. In Egypt, it is also cooked like spinach as a vegetable dish, but not in salads. In Kurdistan especially in the south, people commonly make a kind of soup from it called (palpina soup)(شۆربای پەڵپینە) they use lentil, tomato paste, onion, oil , rice. In the Alentejo region of Portugal, purslane is used to cook a traditional soup (sopa de beldroegas) which is topped with soaked bread, poached eggs and / or hard goats' cheese.
Soil salination on agricultural soils can cause a decrease in crop yields, and it is no longer possible to grow salt-sensitive species on that soil. Purslane has a high tolerance for salt toxicity, which makes it suitable for cropping in areas where irrigation is necessarily carried out with water having a high chloride-based salinity.
Purslane can remove salt from the cultivation medium under saline conditions. As an intercrop or during one growing season, it can remove 210 kg/ha of chloride and 65 kg/ha of sodium when cultivated at 6.5 dS *m-1, allowing growth of salt-sensitive plants on saline soils. Purslane has a positive effect of companion plants in salty conditions, such as tomatoes.
Raw purslane is 93% water, 3% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and contains negligible fat (table). In a 100 gram reference amount, purslane supplies 20 calories, and rich amounts (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin E (81% DV) and vitamin C (25% DV), with moderate content (11-19% DV) of several dietary minerals (table). Purslane is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid.
In popular culture
Verdolaga, the Spanish word for purslane, is a nickname for South American football clubs with green-white schemes in their uniforms, including Colombia's Atletico Nacional and Argentina's Ferrocarril Oeste.
- "Portulaca oleracea". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- Marlena Spieler (July 5, 2006). "Something Tasty? Just Look Down". The New York Times.
- Parker, Peter (2018). A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners. Little Brown Book Group. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-4087-0615-2.
oleraceus, holeraceus = relating to vegetables or kitchen garden
- Whitney, William Dwight (1899). The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. Century Co. p. 2856.
L. holeraceus, prop. oleraceus, herb-like, holus, prop. olus (oler-), herbs, vegetables
- "Portulaca oleracea (common purslane)". Go Botany. New England Wildflower Society.
- Byrne, R. & McAndrews, J.H. (1975). "Pre-Columbian puslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) in the New World" (PDF). Nature. 253 (5494): 726–727. Bibcode:1975Natur.253..726B. doi:10.1038/253726a0. S2CID 4171339. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- Hilty, John (2016). "Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea". Illinois Wildflowers. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
- Kilpatrick, Judy. "Germinating Portulaca Seeds." Home Guides | SF Gate, http://homeguides.sfgate.com/germinating-portulaca-seeds-39371.html. Accessed 13 November 2019.
- Lyle, Katie Letcher (2010) . The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: How to Find, Identify, and Cook Them (2nd ed.). Guilford, CN: FalconGuides. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-59921-887-8. OCLC 560560606.
- Ferrari, Renata C.; Bittencourt, Priscila P.; Rodrigues, Maria A.; Moreno‐Villena, Jose J.; Alves, Frederico R. R.; Gastaldi, Vinícius D.; Boxall, Susanna F.; Dever, Louisa V.; Demarco, Diego; Andrade, Sónia C.S.; Edwards, Erika J.; Hartwell, James; Freschi, Luciano (2019). "C 4 and crassulacean acid metabolism within a single leaf: Deciphering key components behind a rare photosynthetic adaptation". New Phytologist. 225 (4): 1699–1714. doi:10.1111/nph.16265. PMID 31610019.
- Banerjee, G.; Mukherjee, A. (November 2002). "Biological activity of a common weed - Portulaca oleracea L. II. Antifungal activity". Acta Botanica Hungarica. 44 (3–4): 205–208. doi:10.1556/abot.44.2002.3-4.1. ISSN 0236-6495.
- Kenfield, Doug; Hallock, Yali; Clardy, Jon; Strobel, Gary (January 1989). "Curvulin and O-Methylcurvulinic acid: Phytotoxic metabolites of Drechslera indica which cause necroses on purslane and spiny amaranth". Plant Science. 60 (1): 123–127. doi:10.1016/0168-9452(89)90052-6. ISSN 0168-9452.
- Mitchell, J. K. (1986). "Dichotomophthora portulacaeCausing Black Stem Rot on Common Purslane in Texas". Plant Disease. 70 (6): 603b. doi:10.1094/pd-70-603b. ISSN 0191-2917.
- González, D.; Summers, Charles; Qualset, Calvin (January 1992). "Russian wheat aphid: natural enemies, resistant wheat offer potential control". California Agriculture. 46 (1): 32–34. doi:10.3733/ca.v046n01p32. ISSN 0008-0845.
- Megaloudi Fragiska (2005). "Wild and Cultivated Vegetables, Herbs and Spices in Greek Antiquity". Environmental Archaeology. 10 (1): 73–82. doi:10.1179/146141005790083858.
- Noted by John Dickie, Delizia! The Epic History of Italians and Their Food (New York, 2008), p. 37.
- Wright, Clifford A. (2012). "Purslane". Mediterranean Vegetables: A Cook's Compendium of All the Vegetables from the World's Healthiest Cuisine, with More Than 200 Recipes. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Common Press. pp. 276–277. ISBN 978-1-55832-775-7.
- Cobbett, William (1980). The English Gardener. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 0192812920.
- Pests in Landscapes and Gardens: Common Purslane. Pest Notes University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication 7461. October 2003
- Nyerges, Christopher (2017). Foraging Washington: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-2534-3. OCLC 965922681.
- Meus, Jeroen (2021). "Salade met gelakte hondshaai en gebrande asperges" (in Dutch). Dagelijkse Kost. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
- Harold McGee. On Food and Cooking. Scribner. 2004 edition. ISBN 978-0684800011
- "Semizotlu Cacık – Hilal'in Mutfağı". Nefis Yemek Tarifleri (in Turkish). 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "Sopa de Beldroegas". Produtos Tradicionais Portugueses. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
- Teixeira, M.; Carvalho, I.S. (2008-09-12). "Effects of salt stress on purslane (Portulaca oleracea) nutrition". Annals of Applied Biology. 154 (1): 77–86. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7348.2008.00272.x. ISSN 0003-4746.
- Kiliç, Cenk Ceyhun; Kukul, Yasemin S.; Anaç, Dilek (2008). "Performance of purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) as a salt-removing crop". Agricultural Water Management. 95 (7): 854–858. doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2008.01.019. ISSN 0378-3774.
- Graifenberg, A.; Botrini, L.; Giustiniani, L.; Filippi, F.; Curadi, M. (2003). "Tomato growing in saline conditions with biodesalinating plants: Salsola soda L. and Portulaca oleracea L." Acta Horticulturae (609): 301–305. doi:10.17660/actahortic.2003.609.45. ISSN 0567-7572.
- A P Simopoulos (2013). "Common purslane: a source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants". Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 11 (4): 374–382. doi:10.1080/07315724.1992.10718240. PMID 1354675.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Portulaca oleracea.|
|Wikispecies has information related to Portulaca oleracea.|