Field Guide   pic  Weed Management   pic  Purslane

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.)

Crop Impacts: Gardens, ornamental plantings, and agricultural areas

Purselane 1

About Purslane:

Purslane is a common weed that can be found annually during the spring and summer months. This plant is located all over the world in gardens, fields, bare areas and low-maintenance lawns. Purslane thrives best in warm and moist areas that are regularly exposed to irrigation and rain. This weed is edible with a sweet acid-like taste, used in some countries for extra flavor in salads.

Family: Portulacacae Family

Purselane 2 Purselane 3

Purslane Scouting and Prevention:

The best way to know if you are dealing with Purslane is if you have a dense mat of plants with reddish stems with oval, smooth, succulent and shiny leaves. Their leaves are typically set opposite of one another, but can be found alternating one another down the stem. A little 5 leafed yellow flower is also produced by the Purslane, but can only be seen in sunny areas. Purslane weed has small, oval, reddish-brown to black seeds. Each plant produces about 240,000 seeds underneath the dense matt of weeds in late summer. Purslane loves warm, moist areas and once it is in an area, it is very difficult to control. The best way to make sure that Purslane does not enter non-infested areas is prevention by planting weed-free stocks and seed, and making sure your mower, planter and cultivation equipment are cleaned after leaving infested areas. Prevention for small areas like gardens includes pulling the weed out by hand. For pre-emergent herbicide control, dithiopyr and pendimethalin herbicides are the best way to gain control of Purslane before it begins to grow. For post-emergent control, Dicamba, MCPP, MSMA, and 2,4-D herbicides may provide assistance after Purslane begins to grow.

Purslane Control:

If you cultivate your fields or gardens that are infested with Purslane thinking it will kill it, you are mistaken. Hoeing and cultivating is only a temporary solution to the problem. Remove what you can by hand and then cultivate. After cultivation, remove missed Purslane and make sure the soil surface dries out before irrigation in order to kill any seeds that may be left behind and to also prevent rerouting.

After hand picking the weeds, mulching is a good way to prevent regrowth. Mulch must be at least 3 inches deep with synthetic materials underneath to block out the sun and provide a barrier to restrict seed growth.

Covering soil with a clean, black tarp for 4 to 6 weeks during the warmer months of July and August is a cultural control practice called soil solarization. Before solarization, you must prepare the bed, but do not plant ornamental areas and gardens. After the soil solarization, do not disrupt the soil with cultivation. The weeds from deeper in the soil will be brought to the surface and begin to root.

Herbicides are another great way to control Purslane when it is still a new/young plant.

Latin / Alternative Purslane Names:

  • - Portulaca oleracea L.
  • - Portulaca
  • - Pursley
  • - Pusley
  • - Pussley
  • - Wild portulaca
  • - Pourpier potager
  • - Pourpier gras

Additional Purslane Resources