Cultivating History

Scientific Name: Portulaca oleracea

Family: Portulaceceae (Purslane Family)

Common name: Purslane

Description: Prostrate annual, succulent herb; flowers and fruits May-October.

Range and Habitat: Originally native to Asia and probably introduced into North America from Europe; naturalized and widespread weed over nearly the whole world in fields and waste places.

In Porcher’s time… Purslane was used in the treatment of scurvy and worms; it was a much-vaunted as an antidote for poisoning from Spanish flies. The plant was also used to make a very desirable blue dye.

See the historical entry on this plant as it appears in Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests