Purselane (Portulaca oleracea) also known as Little hogweed, is a common weed that originated in India and the Middle East and now grows wild throughout North America. Purslane has small yellow flowers with five petals and yellow stems. The plant blooms from midsummer through early fall. The flower buds, leaves, and stems are all edible. Purslane thrives in poor soil, goes dormant over the winter but it reemerges in early summer with even more abundance.

 Gardener’s Treasure

This slightly bitter and lemon-flavored plant provides impressive health benefits, yet it is often overlooked. Medical research shows that it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth and that purslane has better nutritional quality than the major cultivated vegetables. Purslane has the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids of any plant, (together with seaweed) seven times more beta carotene than carrots and more vitamin E than spinach. It also contains A and C, calcium, magnesium and folate. (Omega 3 fatty acids are important to support healthy arteries and can help prevent strokes, heart attacks, and other forms of heart disease). 

Eat Weeds

Henry David Thoreau knew of the wild Purslane and was impressed by it enough to mention it in his 1854 book  Walden. Purslane can be cooked as a vegetable, added to sandwiches, or used in recipes like salad or stir-fry. I often use freshly picked purslane as a garnish. Once you remove the root, all of the other parts are all edible: leaves, stems, and flower buds. Always rinse food before eating.

Not to be Confused with…

Spurge plant
Do not confuse purslane with this!

Look carefully! Do not confuse purslane with Spurge, another very common type of garden weed. Common purslane has fleshy leaves resembling the jade plant, while Spurge has flat leaves. Spurge radiates out from the center in a circle.  Purslane is growing upright.

Purslane plant

I received a small cutting from my friend last summer and this year it took over one of my vegetable beds and I couldn’t be happier to see it thriving!

Purlane as a side dish on a plate with other foods

Enjoy with any dish






The illustrated guide to edible wild plants

Book Call Number: 581.632 ILLUSTRA


Edible wild plants : a North American field guide by Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman

Book Call Number:  581.632 ELIAS


 The Forager’s handbook : a seasonal guide to harvesting wild, edible & medicinal plants by Vickie Shufer

Book 581.632 SHUFER

Hoopla eBook

Publication Date:  2022

 Magda Born


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Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

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Kansas City, KS 66101

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