Purslane: A Jewel in the Weeds


Purslane: A Jewel in the Weeds
  • Posted March 4, 2015

Purslane is yet another common weed that was commonly consumed throughout history and continues to be enjoyed in many regions of the world to this day. Modern day North Americans are probably one of the few groups in the history of the planet that do not eat it.

Purslane & Tomato Salad with dressing

Dozens of named cultivars have been selected over time, which differ only slightly from the 'weed' purslane, in that they have an upright growth habit that makes them easier to pick, rather than trailing their stems along the ground. Admittedly, purslane is rather unusual as a vegetable, because it is a succulent — the leaves look like a miniature jade plant. They have a crisp texture when raw and a tangy, spinach-like flavor. Inside, the leaves are slightly gelatinous, which can come across as slimy — but in a good, healthy way, like okra.

Freshly picked organic Purslane

In that slime is the greatest concentration of omega fatty acids (particularly the alpha-linoleic acid) of any vegetable. Purslane has double the fatty acids of tuna fish, six times as much vitamin E as spinach and seven times the beta carotene of carrots. It is just as likely to be found growing in your garden as it is a crack in the sidewalk. As a weed it is impossible to beat it, so you may as well eat it.

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Brian Barth
About the Author

After 15 years as a professional landscape designer and horticulturalist, Brian Barth embarked on a second career to share his passion—and the knowledge he's accrued—through writing. His love of plants is all-encompassing, but he has a particular soft spot for culinary crops.


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Purslane: A Jewel in the Weeds