Portulaca oleracea (common purslane, also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley and moss rose) is an annual succulent which may reach 40 centimetres (16 in) in height. It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends.

Purslane grows spontaneously in soils of orchards or gardens when the weather is warm. It grows very fast and has pretty flowers of different, very bright colours. The Purslane is a creeping plant which needs full sun. Their funny flowers close at sunset and a single small pot plant can grow to 30cm before being transplanted after a month. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are mature. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor compacted soils and drought. It is the easiest plant to care for in this climate as the warmer it is, the stronger the plant becomes. Although it usually disappears in winter, it will come out again the following summer. It should be watered when the soil is dry, but do not give it excess water. Purslane provides ground cover to create a humid microclimate for nearby plants, stabilising ground moisture.

Sometimes whitefly attack the plant, but it is possible to fumigate it with any multipurpose insecticide for outdoor plants.

Purslane is native to India and has spread throughout the world as an edible plant and as a weed. Many cultures embrace Purslane as a food. It is also worth mentioning its extensive healing properties, either in the diet, infusion or as external poultice. Purslane has been used since ancient times for healing purposes.

By Jardinería El Milagro