by Stephen Mifsud
   13 Jun 2024      ()
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Portulaca oleracea   (Purslane)

Portulaca oleracea  (PORTULACACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Portulaca oleracea - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 13-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Portulaca oleraceaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 445 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Portulaca retusa Engelm.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Portulacaceae Juss. (The Purslane Family)
1 species from the Portulacaceae family is recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Purslane, Little Hogweed

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – October

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

oleracea: used for cooking as a vegetable or herb, but often used to indicate that it is edible. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

A Summer flowering plant which have yellow flowers that close late in the morning. It is used for its seeds as a food for some cage birds. The plant produces large quantity of seeds which are highly germinative and hence this can lead to invasivness of sites that it grows well, namely disturbed ground near arable sites.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated as a vegetable (Purslane), and a weed of cultivation.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Annual with branched stems 10-50 cm. Leaves mostly scattered and alternate, but subopposite and crowded below flowers, oblong-obovate, sessile with a cuneate base, shining. Flowers solitary or 2 or 3 together,often terminal. Sepals c. 4 mm, keeled, united into a short tube at the base; petals 5, 6-8 mm, yellow, obovate, slightly united; stamens 7-12. Capsule 3-9 mm, obovoid; seeds black.
Distributional range: Europe, northwards to c. 55° N. Not native, except perhaps in parts of the south casual only in N. Europe.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Belgium, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), the Netherlands, Poland
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE Au(A) Be(B) Bl(I M N) Cy Eg Ga(F) Ge Gr He Hs Hu Ir It Lu Ma Sa Si(M S) Sn Sr Tn Tu(E) [Ca(T) aFe nHs(S) nLu nPo]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Diversification of Portulaca oleracea L. complex in the Italian peninsula and adjacent islands Avinoam Danin, Fabrizio Buldrini Marta Bandini Mazzanti, Giovanna Bosi, Maria Carmela Caria, David Dandria, Edwin Lanfranco, Stephen Mifsud and Simonetta Bagella  (2016)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (5 images)
   Portulaca oleracea   -   Image Code: PRTOL-0.
   Portulaca oleracea   -   Image Code: PRTOL-1.
   Portulaca oleracea   -   Image Code: PRTOL-2.
   Portulaca oleracea   -   Image Code: PRTOL-3.
   Portulaca oleracea   -   Image Code: PRTOL-4.

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Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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