A succulent, sprawling plant of lawns and meadows; flowers inconspicuous, 1/5 inch wide, five yellow petals tucked between the branches, mid-summer to fall; fruit capsules up to 1/4 inch long, filled with tiny, round, black seeds; leaves paddle-shaped, succulent, stalkless 1/2 to 2 inches long, alternate or opposite; stem reddish, succulent, branching, creeping, 4-10 inches long.
This common, introduced, 'weed' comes to us from India or the Middle East but is a close relative of several less common native plants. Rooting easily from cut stems and with the ability to mature the seeds even after the plant has been pulled it is a difficult plant to remove from gardens.
Lore: Purslane is a good edible and is eaten throughout much of Europe and Asia. It can be eaten fresh or cooked and has no bitter taste at all. Since it has a mucilaginous quality it is great for soups and stews.
Medical Uses: Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant we know of. The most common dietary source of Omega-3s are cold water fish like Salmon. Omega-3s aid the body in the production of compounds that effect blood pressure, clotting, the immune system, prevent inflammation, lower cholesterol (LDL), prevent certain cancers and control coronary spasms. In addition recent studies suggest that Omega- 3s may have positive effects on the brain and may aid in such conditions as depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and migraines. Though very beneficial, there are few good dietary sources other than seafood for Omaga-3s. (Some oils, nuts, grains and other leafy vegetables do contain Omega-3s)
Purslane Potatoe salad, all that goodness!
6 medium potatoes, sliced and cooked
2 cups purslane, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise