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Portulac (Portulaca oleracea) is native to Africa and Asia Minor and belongs to the homonymous family of the Portulaceae (Portulacaceae). Already the famous Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) mentioned the one-year-old wild vegetables and herbs in their writings.

Not to be confused is the real purslane, also called summer purslane or vegetable purslane, with the frost-resistant winter sportulac (Claytonia perfoliata), which is also used as a wild vegetable. He is also called Winterpostelein or Tellerkraut and is also one year old, but belongs to a completely different plant family. Its original homeland are the coastal regions of North America. He occurs in this country in many vegetable gardens as a neophyte.

Winter athlete (Claytonia perfoliata)

Although it is also called purslane, it is not really the real one: the winter athlete (Claytonia perfoliata), also called plate cabbage or cubaspinate

The stems of the robust summer purslane have a slightly nutty-sour, salty taste. Purslane contains many vitamins, essential oils and blood-purifying omega-3 fatty acids.

Appearance and growth

The one-year vegetable purslane forms reddish stems with obovate, fleshy, green or yellowish-green leaves. In the leaf axils or shoot tips appear from May to October small yellowish or white flowers. Purslane grows quickly and bushily and grows between 10 and 30 inches high.

Location and ground

Summer purslane prefers warm, sunny locations as well as loose, well drained and rather sandy soils that should not be too humid.

Sowing and planting

Normally, summer purslane is sown directly wide-bred or in rows with a distance of 20 centimeters from the beginning of May in the field. The last sowing should take place depending on the region after the Eisheiligen until the end of August or the middle of September. It is best to sow purslane throughout the season in several sets at intervals of two weeks each. Cover the seeds only lightly with soil, as they germinate better under good lighting, and then singulate the young plants to 15 to 20 centimeters. A preculture of young plants is also possible, but usually not useful, because the plants grow quickly and are very uncomplicated in the cultivation. When pre-culturing in multi-pot plates or peat wells, the temperature should be at least 18 degrees Celsius. Summer purslane sprouts fastest at 30 degrees.

Purslane in the balcony box

Purslane can also be grown very well in the balcony box


Purslane is growing fast and is very frugal. The leaves, however, become larger and more tender if you already put two liters of ripe compost flat in the soil during the preparation for the bed. However, he does not need an extra ration of fertilizer. Watering is only possible in the event of prolonged drought, as the plants are well able to cope with temporary dehydration thanks to their storage leaves. About a week before the harvest, however, on drier soils, a well-dosed watering is recommended, so that the leaves become swollen and firm.

Harvest and recovery

In warm summers you can harvest purslane already four to six weeks after sowing. The younger leaves and stems are prepared as raw food or salad. Leave the bottom third of the plants - it will then re-drive and form new stems and leaves. In this way you can harvest purslane two to three times. Once the flowers open, the leaves become inedible, as they now store many bitter substances. You can leave the plants to harvest seeds for next year.
Due to its salty and nutty taste, you should be sparing with salt when preparing and recycling purslane. With its spicy, slightly sour taste Portulak fits well in summery mixed salads, but also finely chopped in soups, as a sandwich or in curd cheese curd it has proven itself. You can also cook or grind purslane like spinach for a short time. The flower buds are reminiscent of capers in taste and can be used like these.
Since purslane spoils quickly, it should be processed quickly. In the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, it lasts for a maximum of five days, when the leaves are rolled up in a moistened kitchen towel. It can be conserved only conditionally, because the leaves in the freezer become very mushy.

Purslane in salad

Salads gives purslane a slightly salty-sour flavor. Also with quark, it harmonises very well in terms of taste


There are no real varieties of purslane, but different forms of culture, which can be distinguished by the color of their leaves. The varieties with strong green leaves are the consistency somewhat better, but tastier better. The yellowish-green forms form tender, less aromatic leaves.

Purslane as a medicinal plant

Purslane tea is recommended in the treatment of bladder and kidney problems.Because it contains a lot of provitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, it has a blood-purifying and anti-inflammatory effect. The polyunsaturated fatty acids protect the vessels and also stimulate serotonin production in the brain, therefore, purslane is also considered a natural antidepressant.

Diseases and pests

The robust wild vegetables are - also because of its short culture duration - very insensitive to diseases and pests.

Video Board: Purslane Identification.

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