Is this purslane?

spaghetina(SF Bay Area)August 3, 2009

Last night, I was looking for purslane seeds after reading about how healthy it is. I'd seen pictures and such, but for some reason, I never thought I'd actually have it growing in my own yard, so I totally disregarded the fact that I had what looks exactly like purslane growing up through the cracks in between the bricks in my backyard.

It dawned on me this morning, as I went out to harvest, what was potentially growing right there, without the need to purchase seeds!

So my question is this, does this look like purslane to you? And if it does, how hardy is it, and how deep do the roots go? I'd like to rip out the few plants I have and see if I can pot them, but I don't want to kill them.

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Yes, looks like purslane.

Get the ripe triangular seed pods off the plant for a supply of seed. It transplants OK, so give it a try.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 8:34PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

How exciting! Are those little things toward the ends of the branches that look sort of like leaves that are fused together, or that haven't separated and opened up yet the seed pods?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:11PM
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jbann23(6 RI)

That's purslane alright. It's an invasive weed around here and very hard to keep down. You can yank it right out of the ground, roots and all, and it'll grow wherever you want to plant it. Any bits of root left behind will grow right out again and thus the reason it's invasive. It reseeds itself if left alone and suddenly your garden is a purslane patch.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:33PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

Yup, you have young seed pods forming. The seeds are tiny. This is a tough plant. If it goes to seed in a garden area you will have more purslane than you want. But it pulls easily for me and isn't usually a problem in my garden. It should transplant okay. I don't remember it having much of a root at all. I think it roots along the stem if you cover it a bit. Even pieces that break off will grow.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 10:42PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

I went out and looked again, and managed to find several of the pods that were open or were about to open, so I filled up a pot with some soil, scattered the seeds, and gave it a little water. We'll see if anything comes up, but I'm thinking that if it's growing through the cracks in my walkway, it's going to do fine in Miracle Grow garden soil, lol.

For some reason, there isn't any in the lawn, and I haven't spotted any other than in the cracks, but rather than letting it go crazy wherever it wants to grow, I may see if I can pull up the remainder of what's growing now, and try to keep it semi-confined to a pot.

It seems weird to be excited for a weed, but it's great knowing that something that I didn't plant is growing well and providing at least some kind of nutrition and fun, since half the things I did plant are being attacked by insects that I can't see to get under control.

Thanks for the info, all!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 11:00PM
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Yes that's purslane. You can pick the leaves and add them to a stirfry.
They don't compete well with other weeds in good soil but will grow very well where other plants can't thrive.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:17AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

The leaves are still so, so small right now. If I pick them all, and leave the stems, will the plants survive? Or if I cut off several of the stems, leaving the roots intact, will they be ok? I know they're weeds, so they must be pretty hardy, but I don't want to kill them off if I can help it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:30AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

It's healthy because it's extremely high in Omega 3 fatty acids. I eat it all summer long, usually in salad. I have a recipe for pickled pursland but I've never made it because it calls for about 3 lbs, I think, a lot of purslane!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 6:54AM
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I have this stuff growing all over in my garden and flower beds too, I've always pulled it up pretty easily but it always comes back.

I have actually been too reluctant to eat it. IS IT REALLY OK TO EAT?

What does it taste like?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 9:12AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I think that there me be more tasty strains than the common weed variety.

They don't grow in grass but are by far the most pesky weed for me!1 They are a succulent and can lay for days before dying.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:19PM
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makete(U.P. of Mi.)

You all can come up here and get/eat all the purslane you can manage. It takes over parts of our garden when not kept in check. And it handles our winter (-60 wind chill) so it sure can handle Cal. LOL.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:19PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Lol, the way it's talked about makes it almost sound like an alien.

I tasted some last night, and it's sort of bright, lemony, and "green" tasting. It also had a bit of that okra-y mouthfeel because of the mucilaginous properties. I'm hoping my pot hurries up so I can harvest enough to mix it up with some salad greens for a meal!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 2:36PM
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I really like the taste of purslane. Harvest it in the early morning and it might be juicer then.
Highest source of Omega3 of any leafy vegetable yet tested.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:28PM
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so marijuana and purslane are things to go into a salad? hmmmmm, can I come over for dinner???

I had to read that twice ;)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:56PM
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The "tasty" strains are not they are all cracked up to be. They are bigger-leafed and more upright, yes, but it does not matter because you eat the stems also, and also these succulent leaves do not pick up dirt like lettuce. The cultivars are a lot less vigorous than the real thing, and they taste the same.

I planted two different cultivars for two years before realizing that I was looking really stupid. Purslane, like all greens, has a lot more than one nutrient. See below. Eat raw with olive oil and vinegar. Half a pound is not an excessive quantity in one sitting, though I have eaten more than a pound many times. it goes well in mixed salads also, like with cherry tomatoes and herbs, because it is crunchy and lemony. In such case, use whole twigs, not the individual leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA database

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 5:19PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Glib, do you chop up the stems, or just break them up into smaller pieces before eating?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 11:49PM
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I actually pick at the purslane weeds that grow during the summer and chew on it. Reminds me of okra, or another similar vegetble that my grandmother makes

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 12:18AM
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AS noted by "takadi", purslane has a texture and taste similar to okra. MY brother puts them in soups. It is a good soup thickener too. I like it fresh and raw.
Off topic: sassafras leaves are also good soup thickener.
If you have any around, pick the leave in fall when they are mature. Dry them and use them. It is a Luisianna tradition.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 12:50AM
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In reply to the sasafrass suggestion. The leaves are mature enough in early summer and we would also harvest about 8in. of the still tender end of the branch.
I have sold hundreds of pounds to a buyer who resold to a processor but that was many moons ago.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 1:43AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Re sassafras: I'm going to have to look it up to see what it looks like. Aren't the ground up leaves file powder, like what they use to thicken gumbo and such?

For some reason, I have a feeling it doesn't grow out here in my area, but who knows. I really wish we had some foraging classes or something. I would have so much fun walking around looking for things to eat! I have a big ugly, thistle-y looking weed out back that I think is edible, but I'm not chancing it because I am entirely unsure, lol. Purslane and pineapple weed is about all I am positive I'm able to identify now.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Are all varieties edible?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 4:21PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

I haven't found anything anywhere saying there were any inedible kinds of purslane, however (and I'm totally not sure about this, so that this with a grain of salt) I imagine there are other kinds of succulents that may resemble purslane that aren't edible.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 1:54PM
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I am from the West Indies, purslane is really a 'weed' it grows everywhere, in the gardens, on the roadside, in gutters,in canals,everywhere,are you sure this thing is edible? I've always heard about purslanse, but I never knew what is was until I saw your photo

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 7:34AM
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