The Bane of Purslane!


Genus: Portulaca

Family: Portulacaceae

Flower: Small yellow flowers that open only when the sun is shining

Native to: India

Type of weed: Broadleaf


GreenGrass treats with: Pre-emergent weed control & post-emergent weed control.


Over the counter: Before germination, a pre-emergent containing pendimethalin, or a combination of benefin & trifluralin or benefin & oryzalin (in bermudagrass only.)  After germination, any broadleaf weed control containing Dicamba or MCPP.  NOTE: Always read the product label to see what it controls, what you can put it on, and how to apply it.


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea - top picture) is an annual, fleshy succulent weed that can be quite prolific.  One plant can put out hundreds of thousands of seeds that can survive in the soil for 40 years!  Purslane can live in poor, compacted soil and tolerates drought conditions.  It has a long taproot with fibrous secondary roots, and it needs a lot of sun.  It's related to Portulaca Grandiflora, otherwise known as Moss Rose (below), which is a full-sun flowering annual that many of us plant in our flowerbeds each year.

 portulaca moss rose

Purslane is easily controlled with the same pre-emergent we use for crabgrass.  However, if you have it in your flowerbeds, pull as much as you can, and put down a good layer of mulch so it won't receive any sunlight.


Purslane can now be found in North Africa, throughout the Middle East, Malaysia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Australia.   In the United States, we have found evidence of purslane here since the mid-1400's.



Trivia: Most plants manufacture food for themselves by the process of photosynthesis.  When purslane is drought-stressed, it switches to photosynthesis using Crassulacean acid metabolism, or the CAM pathway.  Basically, that involves the leaves of the plant trapping carbon dioxide at night and converting it into malic acid. Then, during the day, the malic acid is converted into glucose.



If you Google "purslane" you will find!  This invasive weed is actually edible and one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat!  It contains more omega-3 fatty acids (like you get in fish and flax seeds) than any other leafy green vegetable, as well as healthy doses of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and carotenoids, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium, and the antioxidants betaxanthins and betacyanins.  Loosely translated, Oleracea means "vegetable to be eaten."  So, if you can't beat it, eat it! (P.S. be sure it's purslane before eating...)