WSU Extension


Weeds : Purslane, common : Portulaca oleracea
(revision date: 3/19/2019)

Family: Portulacaceae
Cycle: Annual
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Common purslane reproduces by seeds, but it can also root from the stems or stem fragments which contact the soil. Common purslane is usually a prostrate plant from a taproot, with fleshy, reddish stems and succulent, green leaves. It can be mat-forming. Plants growing in shade are more upright and produce fewer leaves than plants in full sun. The leaves are oval, about 1/2-inch long, and alternate or nearly opposite, often in clusters. The leaf tips may be blunt or slightly rounded and petioles are absent. Tiny, five-petalled, yellow flowers may be seen in bright sunlight. Tiny black seeds are produced in small capsules that split open across the center. SPECIAL INFORMATION: The fleshy stems and thick, blunt leaves are distinguishing characteristics and also contribute to the plants' survival after pulling. The stems are brittle and break easily, creating fragments which re-root easily after cultivation. Purslane has been used as a vegetable, but it may accumulate oxalates, which can be toxic.
Common purslane is a common weed of gardens, lawns, waste areas, and cultivated fields. It grows best on rich, moist soils and can grow in sun or shade.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition will prevent weed establishment.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label directions. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • dichlobenil
  • oryzalin
Turf areas
  • triclopyr
  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • oryzalin
  • triclopyr
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Caption: Common purslane succulent leaves and flower
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Purslane
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Common purslane seedlings
Photo by: R. Parker
Caption: Common purslane leaves and fruits
Photo by: D.G. Swan