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How I use herbs - purslane

You might know purslane (Portulaca oleracea) as a weed, its also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley, and moss rose. It is an annual succulent, native to India and Persia, that spreads and produces tiny yellow flowers. It can have green or red stems. It seems to be prevalent in most temperate climates and has been used since ancient times as both a medicine and a food.




How to grow purslane?
You may gather wild purslane, or you may want to cultivate it in your garden (and have some control over your supply). It starts easily from seed, and is one of those wonderful plants that produces copious seeds, so you will always have some in your garden. Apparently it tolerates poor compacted soils, and drought (I have seen it growing in a gravel on our farm tracks), so I guess this combined with the amount of seeds, explains why it is considered a weed.

Even better, purslane can benefit other plants in your garden. Purslane provides ground cover, which assists with retaining soil moisture. Its deep roots bring up moisture and nutrients that other plants can use, and some will follow purslane roots down through harder soil that they cannot penetrate alone.

purslane seeds

How to eat purslane? (and why you should consider eating a weed)
Purslane is not a herb that you will see in the vegetable section of your supermarket, or mentioned in many recipes (here's some!), but there are good reasons to seek out this weed. The main reason is that Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. We need a source of omega-3 to balance all the omega-6 that we eat in processed foods and grain-fed meat (see my review of Toxic Oil for more details). Like all leafy greens, it also contains beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Now are you glad that is grows like a weed so you can include it in every meal? Purslane has a bland taste, like a slightly sour lettuce. When chopped up in a salad or added with other herbs to a hot meal, it does not affect the taste. This is one herb that I don’t use as a tea, as the main benefit is from consuming the herb.

This would also be a good one to feed to stock (I don’t quite grow enough yet to spare some for the chickens, but I heard that they like it).

I am happy to allow this weed to grow in my garden, not only is it a nutritious addition to any meal, it grows with barely any attention from me, perfect for a permaculture garden.

Do you grow and eat purslane intentionally?



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Comments

  1. yep, not intentionally though, have it everywhere here, never knew what is was, just thought as a weed here too. i do however let my weeds stay on for a time as they help protect any seedlings that come up, not sure i'll be eating it but the chooks like it
    thanx for sharing

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  2. I wonder if it will grow here in the tropics? We have purslane which has the pretty yellow and pink flowers, and it must be part of the same family.

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    Replies
    1. Hello! It does! I've seen plenty in South America.

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  3. My girlfriend who lives at Camp Mountain has told me about this recently....sounds interesting. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  4. When ever I am looking for a few extra things to add to a salad to make it interesting I wander around the garden looking for purslane and chickweed which I know are usually some where in the garden.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this. We have a lot of purslane growing around here, and I had an inkling it was edible, but nothing beyond that. I'll have to give it a try next time I notice it growing.
    The other weed we get a lot of in winter is chickweed. Have you tried that? If so, I'd be interested to read about that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't been brave enough to eat this yet, I still feel a bit funny about eating "weeds". I was going to recently but my dad visited and by the time I got home from work my entire garden was weeded very nicely - and purslane was gone! But it seems to have sprung up again so I'm going to be more brave next time - thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete

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