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Portulaca oleracea

Purslane – Weed or culinary succulent?

By Beet 2023 02 February

I don’t know how many times I have looked at the purslane in my garden and stopped to ponder if I should leave it or pull it, if I should eat it or compost it. As it turns out, I found I should leave it because it is an edible succulent. In Colonial America, it was common to eat purslane, as it was plentiful and it was free. Also, from what I have read, it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially the Portulaca oleracea.

Purslane is still used in many kitchens in Europe, especially in France. The use of purslane has been featured in many cookbooks throughout the ages. In 1600, an Englishman recommended it be used in salads. The flavor lends itself to being used not just in salads but because it is tart and salty, it could be used pickled and sauteed with eggs.

Purslane is a member of the Portulacaceae family. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is widely consumed as an edible plant, and in some areas, it is considered invasive. Portulaca grandiflora is a well-known ornamental garden plant. Purslanes are relished by chickens. Some Portulaca species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the nutmeg moth (Hadula trifolii).