An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

COMMON PURSLANE, pursley, pusley, wild portulaca

Illustration

PURSLANE FAMILY-Portulacaceae

COMMON PURSLANE-Portulaca oleracea L.

DESCRIPTION-A smooth fleshy annual reproducing by seeds, closely resembling horse purslane, with which it is often confused. The many branched stems are reddish and prostrate, 1/2 to 2 feet long, and often form mats with the tips turned upward. Sometimes the stems are ascending and nearly erect. The small thick leaves are alternate, not opposite as in horse purslane, either solitary or clustered, and spatulashaped with the tips rounded.

The small stalkless flowers, as in horse purslane, occur singly or several together in the leaf and branch axils and stem tips. They also open only in the mornings, but are yellow, not purplish. There are 7 to 12 or 20 stamens.

The seed pod is globeshaped, the upper half of which, with the 2-cleft calyx on top, falls away as a lid when the many tiny seeds are mature. The black seeds, broadly eggshaped but flattened, are less than 1/25 inch long with a white spot at the scar.

DISTRIBUTION-Introduced from Europe, common purslane is abundant in northern as well as southern Arizona. It is a pest in lettuce, sugar beets, carrots, and citrus; also common on overgrazed eroded areas, on mountain slopes and meadows; 100 to 8,500 feet elevation; flowering April to June and August to about November.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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