Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane is a hard plant to fall in love with, if you’ve never tried eating it before that is! Most everyone has seen this sprawling, weedy intruder, popping up in the sidewalk cracks and around the house in the high heat of Summer, when all the decent plants should be withering in shame. With its sprawled out appearance and thick, succulent stems, purslane isn’t the most attractive of wild plants. It does have humble, but beautiful small yellow flowers that appear in mid July. And it has a wonderful, mild lemony flavor! Purslane is actually a wonderful, crunchy vegetable that can be used for a wide variety of dishes. Chopped up whole, the plant can be added to salads, stir fries, casseroles and more.

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Though in most cases, purslane seems to show up of its own accord, you may still want to plant it in a designated area. To do that, you can either harvest the delicate seeds after the little yellow flowers have been pollinated, or you can actually just lop off a few long stems (before they’ve flowered) and lay them where you’d like them to take root. The seeds need to be laid on top of the soil, without covering, as they need the sunlight to germinate. If you use cuttings, be sure to water them to encourage the growth of roots. Other than that, purslane’s weedy habits tend to take care of themselves. It is actually a favorite of cottontails, so if you’d like to see more of those white tailed bunnies in your wild garden, this may encourage them to move in!

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