Does anyone know if there’s anything else that Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) can be mistaken for? My mom swears there’s something toxic that resembles it, but she can’t put her finger on what it might be. I have an absolute *bumper* crop of what I think it purslane in my garden (but I’m not 100% sure), and it’s actually something I like eating, but she’s got me spooked now.
It pains me to toss it out into the woods when I could be tossing it back with a smattering of green garlic!!
Not to add to my own post, but I didn’t know that purslane could be used as a moisture-retaining ground cover! (see this wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca_oleracea#Companion_plant). Does anyone know anything additional to this? How fascinating. I wonder if I should be letting the purslane keep growing in my tomato garden as a way to help the ground retain water? I just assumed it would be competing with the ‘maters ….
Purslane is really high in Omega-3 fatty acids too! As far as I know there is nothing poisonous that is similar to purslane. In fact Wildman Steve Brill considers purslane to be one of the easiest wild plants to ID. ‘Keying out’ (the process of following a taxonomic key) might give you the confidence to chow down. The University of Illinois has a simple key that filters out the possible plant choices as you answer the questions. Answer what questions you can on the left and you should end up with Purslane as the only (or one of the only) plants left on the right.
I also didn’t know how good purslane is for the soil. I can’t wait to tell my neighbor (who loves to eat purslane) that she no longer has to weed any of it out of our community garden as it is improving the soil!
Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.