Purslane is one of the most nutritious wild plants and can be found across the world. Learn more about it’s amazing abilities below.
Purslane is one of my favorite plants that I’ve come across while foraging. Discovering it’s qualities and potential and then utilizing it to address certain health issues has had a large, positive effect on my life! Because of this, I include purslane throughout my “weed” garden every year.
Get this: The fresh leaves of purslane contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant on the planet! High-quality cod liver oil, an amazing omega-3 fatty acid source, can be expensive and not practical to take with on long trips, as it needs to stay refrigerated. Goodbye $40 bottles of fish oil, and good riddence! Hello, precious little purslane leaves.
The fresh leaves of purslane contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant on the planet!
(Read more about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids here)
Additionally, purslane is antibacterial, antiscorbutic (warding off scurvy, a condition caused by a lack of vitamin C in a person’s diet), depurative (purifying and detoxifying), diuretic and febrifuge (effective at reducing a fever). Purslane is most certainly a superfood!
In addition, Purslane is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants. Loaded with Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E. Mineral rich, Purslane boasts high levels of calcium, iron, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
Appearance + How to Find It
This nutritious weed has a distinctive thick, reddish stem and succulent, green leaves. Leaves are spoon-like in shape.
Purslane has yellow flowers with 5 petals that, when open completely, measure about 1/4″ across. These flowers open up for a few hours during bright sunny mornings, making spotting them while foraging that much easier if you time your ventures accordingly.
The flowers bloom from mid-summer through the early fall and lasts about 1 to 2 months. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open around the middle to release the numerous small, black seeds. So, if growing in your garden, harvest the leaves periodically and allow the flower to remain on the stem, so as to seed later in the year. *que your beautiful foraging garden daydreaming*
Where to Find Purslane (Habitat)
Purslane is found almost everywhere, as it thrives in poor soil and is resistant to drought. It’s common to find it thriving in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways, even during the hottest peaks of summer. It often makes an appearance in gardens, fields, flowerbeds, waste ground and roadside. If there are plants, there is probably some purslane nearby. Yay! I personally find it reassuring to know that if my family and I are ever in need, we won’t go hungry.
How to Use It
The stem, leaves, and flowers are all edible!
- Make a tincture
- Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 1-2 minutes and use them in a salad
- Add to stews and soups
- Garnish any dish using chopped leaves and petals
- Hairy-stemmed spurge is a poisonous plant that looks very similar to purslane. Hairy-stemmed spurge is distinguished by a milky sap that can be seen if you squeeze the stem, along with, you guessed it, a hairy-looking stem. If eaten, it can cause violent vomiting and diarrhea.
Share your favorite recipes & uses below in the comments!!