Purslane Weed: How To Identify & Get Rid Of It

What is Purslane Weed?

Purslane, scientifically known as Portulaca oleracea, is a plant with an impressive background. Other common names of this weed include garden purslane, little hogweed, pusley, pussly, common purslane, pigweed, and portulaca. It is believed to have originated in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent; however, it has since found its way around the world over many centuries.

This plant may reach 16 inches (40 centimeters) in height. It has red stems and fleshy, green leaves. Its leaves may be alternate or opposite and are clustered at stem joints and ends. The flowers are bright yellow in color and have five regular parts. The tiny seeds are formed in a pod, which opens when the seeds mature. This plant has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is capable of tolerating poor soil and drought.

Today, it is a well-known weed that can be spotted in flower beds, cultivated fields, roadsides, or other disturbed areas. Due to its hardy nature and ability to rapidly spread, it has been appreciated by many cultures for thousands of years due to its culinary and medicinal benefits. Thus, it remains common today in various parts of the world.

A Quick Glance to Purslane Weed

Plant typeAnnual herb
ToleranceDrought, heat
Native toNorth Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent
Water needsLow
Preferred Hardiness USDA Zones10-11
Height12 – 18 inches
Spread12 – 18 inches

What Are The Features of Purslane Weed?

Purslane is an annual succulent that flourishes in USDA growing zones 10–11. It has a number of applications, including its use as an ornamental plant, a leafy vegetable, and herbal medicine. It is a highly resilient species, able to thrive even in dry and nutrient-poor soils.

It is a plant that grows to a height of 40 centimeters (16 inches), with smooth and reddish prostrate stems. Its leaves are clustered at stem joints and are either alternate or opposite in direction. This hearty plant flourishes even under poor soil conditions and drought, and its small yellow flowers open for a few hours on sunny mornings. The fruits contain many seeds, which can result in up to 193,000 per plant when mature. The ideal germination temperature for the seeds is 25°C or above. They require light contact with soil to sprout properly.

Its growth pattern is quite diverse. Depending on the moisture available, the plant can develop a mat that covers up to 3 feet in diameter or can reach heights of 16 inches tall.

Also, it is an incredibly nutritious herb that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A and C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. It has high levels of antioxidants and possesses anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.

It also contains high amounts of oxalates. So, consuming it in excess may not be recommended for those with kidney stones. This plant is sometimes used as fodder or as an ointment to treat burns.

How to Identify Common Purslane Weed?

1. Purslane is characterized by red fleshy stems with over 90% water content, succulent oval-shaped glossy leaves, and tiny yellow flowers.

2. It is considered to be a summer annual but can regenerate from fragments of its stem.

3. The plant produces tiny, black, glossy, oval-shaped seeds, about 1 millimeter in size.

4. Seeds germinate when the soil temperature exceeds 25°C, with an optimal requirement of 30°C.

5. Common purslane can produce viable seeds as early as three weeks after emergence.

6. Each plant is capable of producing up to 193,000 seeds.

7. These seeds can remain viable in the soil for 20 to 40 years.

How to Get Rid of Purslane Weed?

Purslane weed can easily infest large areas, so it’s important to act quickly. If left to reach its seed stage, the plant will disperse its seeds and cause additional problems. The most effective method of eliminating purslane is by hand pulling the plant.

Generally, a single plant covers a large area, thus with a little bit of work you can quickly clear large sections of your garden.

Application of an herbicide on purslane can be helpful in removing this weed from your garden but is more effective when the plant is still young.

Also, any part of the stem or root left behind can produce new plants. So it’s important to remove all existing pieces or plant material of purslane before your new seeds have a chance to take hold.

Purslane, a resilient weed, can survive even after it is uprooted from the ground. Its seeds, which can remain viable for years, are easily re-distributed when thrown into the trash or compost pile. To ensure that all traces of Purslane have been removed from your garden and to prevent re-rooting, it is important to properly dispose of the weeds. Place the plants in a paper or plastic bag before throwing them away. With this method, it will not be able to establish itself in your garden again.

Purslane seeds need light to germinate. So a heavy layer of mulch or paper can be effective in preventing further growth.

Pre-emergent herbicides can also be used to keep the new seeds from germinating.

With these tips and strategies, eradicating Purslane from your garden is an easy and achievable job.


1) Common Purslane | Extension | West Virginia University


2) Common Purslane – Weed of the Week |West Virginia University


3) Common Purslane, Portulaca oleracea – Wisconsin Horticulture, Division of Extension

4) Weed Gallery: Common purslane – UC IPM


5) Common Purslane Management Guidelines – UC IPM


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