Flowers Purslane

Purslanes are a fairly large worldwide group of mostly succulent herbaceous plants and shrubs, only a few of which are used for food. Until the APG III system of 2009 split them apart, they were all in family Portulacaceae but many are now in families Montlaceae and Talinaceae. While molecular biologists saw a need for this, we're not going to break up this culinary page. The photo shows M. Lewisia rediviva, a North American variety which is not used for food.   Photo by Stan Shebs distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic.

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Common Purslane   -   [Verdolaga (Mexico), Pigweed, Little Hogweed, Pusley; Sanhti, Punarva, Kulfa (India); Ma Chi Xian (China); family Portulacaceae, P. Portulaca oleracea]
Leafy stems

This low growing succulent is native from North Africa through the Indian Subcontinent and on to Australasia. It is a common invasive weed in North America, particularly California vineyards, but there is some evidence it was brought to Canada in pre-Columbian times. By the 20th century it had fallen from favor north of the Mexican border, but due to shifting demographics is now common in many specialty markets in Southern California.

Stems, leaves and flower buds are edible and often used fresh in salads. Purslane is also used in stir fries and cooked like spinach. It is somewhat mucilaginous which works well in soups and stews. Purslane is highly nutritious with a good selection of vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants, and is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than any other land plant. Details and Cooking.

Fameflower   -   [Philippine / Ceylon / Florida spinach, Surinam purslane, Waterleaf, Cariru, Lagos bologi, Sweetheart, T. Talinum fruticosum ]
Flowering plants

This plant is grown as a crop in West Africa, South and Southeast Asia and in subtropical parts of North and South America. It is one of the most important leaf vegetables in Nigeria and is grown along the Amazon River in Brazil. Having a fairly high oxalic acid content it is similar in usage to spinach. As with other purslanes, the leaves are somewhat fleshy and mucilaginous.   Photo by Sphl distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic.

Miner's Lettuce   -   [M. Claytonia perfoliata]

Native to the coastal and mountain regions of North America, from the southern tip of Alaska south as far as Central America, this plant is most common in California, particularly the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. It appears in the spring, preferring cool moist ground, and starts to dry out in the early summer. It is easily recognizable by the completely round leaves with flower spikes extending from the center, but its regular leaves are spade shaped or very elongated ovals.

This herb was much used by gold rush miners who ate it to ward off scurvy (man cannot live by salt pork and sourdough bread alone). Today it is used raw in salads and sometimes cooked as spinach would be. It has a somewhat spinach-like taste. Details and Cooking.   Photo by Curtis Clark distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic.

Spring Beauty   -   [Eskimo Potato; Oatkuk (Inuit); Carolina Spring Beauty; M. Claytonia tuberosa syn Claytonia caroliniana var tuberosum]

Native eastern North America, there are several variations of this plant, ranging from the Carolinas well into the Inuit regions of Canada, where the tubers of C. Ttuberosa were important food to the native people. The flowers and leaves are also edible.   Photo by Cathie Bird distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Parakeelya - [M. Calandrinia balonensis]
A succulent herb native to central Australia. It has fleshy leaves about 1-1/2 to 4 inches long and brilliant purplish flowers 1 to 1-1/2 inches across at the top of long wire-like stems. The Australian Aborigines eat the leaves both raw and steamed, and the tuberous roots steamed. The seeds are also eaten, ground into a paste.

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©Andrew Grygus - - Photos on this page not otherwise credited are © cg1 - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page permitted