Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea)
Usually when someone is looking for a ground cover that can take full Texas sun (this is different from regular sun other places), I recommend purslane. I extol its qualities – “very heat & drought tolerant, minimal watering, has pretty flowers, blah blah blah.” Well, when I started to do some research for this article, I found it is much more than that!
Purslane, closely related to Rose Moss or Portulaca, is a great succulent that is native to India and Persia. This great ground cover plant for Texas is also a great food source and is valued all over the world for its health benefits. Who knew?! I learn something everyday at Maas Nursery!
Purslane can be eaten in salads and has more Omega-3 fatty acids than some fish oils. It tastes similar to watercress or spinach and is used as a substitute sometimes. The seeds can be cultivated or just let them drop into the soil where they can stay viable up to 40 years. Taking a tiller to an area
with purslane to eradicate it is known as “purslane multiplication.” The seeds will just be brought to the surface where they will germinate quickly. So you either love this plant or hate it.
One note of warning, be careful that you do not pull up Spurge along with your Purslane for eating because Spurge is poisonous. It can grow along with Purslane, so do your homework!
Season: In Houston it grows from late spring – late fall.
Garden habitat: Spreads to make a great flowering ground cover.
Colors: Pink, yellow, orange, red, white.
Exposure: Full Sun.
Fact: Can be used as a food source.