Botanical Name: Portulaca oleracea
Common Names: Purslane,Portulaca, Pigweed, Hogweed
Purslane is a prostrate growing succulent annual that has a taproot and branches frequently from the base.The stems are round and succulent and range in colour from light green to reddish brown. when it grows it can form a mat on the ground around 60cm wide and 15 cm tall if left.
The leaves alternate along the stem and are smooth without hairs. The leaves are also ovate to oblong in shape. They are around 2-3cmis length and are attached directly by its base without a stalk(sessile) often grouping towards the apex of the stem.
The flowers can appear singly or in small bunches at the end of the stems. The are bright yellow,have 5 petals and are around 0.5 cm in size.When the flower dies back it is replaced by a seed pod.
The stems,leaves and flowers are all edible.
It can be eaten raw, used in stirfrys, cooked like spinach and also used in soups and stews. It has a slightly salty and sour taste.
Purslane is very nutritious and is high in Omega 3 fatty acids as well as proteins sugars and mucilage.
It has been used for centuries to treat sore eyes and gums, dermatitis, inflammation, headaches, abdominal pain, dysentery, worms, high fever, diarrhoea and urinary tract infections.