Portulaca oleracea(common purslane, also known as pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley, and moss rose) is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which may reach 40 centimetres (16 yn) in height. Approximately forty varieties are currently cultivated
It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 millimetres (0.24 yn) wide. Depending upon rainfall, the flowers appear at any-time during the year. The flowers open singly at the centre of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are mature. Purslane has a tap-root with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.
Although purslane is considered a weed by many people it may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the middle east, Asia, and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, added soups and stews.
Australian Aborigines use the seeds to make seedcakes. Greeks use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, add it in salads, boil it, or add to casseroled chicken.
Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant.
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