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Portulacaceae
Plants of the Purslane Family

      If you do much gardening then you may have met a member of this family already. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a succulent, reddish-green plant found growing flat on the ground, with fat stems and small, fat leaves. One plant can produce as many as 250,000 seeds from its tiny flowers, so if they are in your garden then you had better start pulling them now!

      The Purslane family originally included all plants now classified within the Miner's Lettuce family. However, genetic analysis revealed that Portulaca is more distinct and should be an independent family. Purslanes are mostly fleshy, succulent annual herbs with 2 sepals, 5 to 7 short-lived petals, and typically 6 to 40 stamens (sometimes more or less). The ovary is positioned at least half inferior and consists of 2 to 8 united carpels forming a single chamber. It matures as a lidded capsule with many seeds. The family has been reduced to just the one genus.

Key Words: Succulent plants often growing in intense sunlight. Two sepals.

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Portulaca oleracea. Common purslane.

Portulaca oleracea. Common purslane.

There are more
Purslane/Miner's Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org,
and at the Desert-Tropicals Website



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