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Portulaca oleracea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PortulacaceaeView Description 

Habit: Annual to perennial herb, generally fleshy. Stem: [1]several to many, spreading [to erect], generally glabrous. Leaf: simple, alternate or opposite, linear, obovate, spoon-shaped, [elliptic, +- round], flat or cylindric, hairs in axils, inconspicuous or not [0], upper 2--5 forming involucre. Inflorescence: flowers 1 or clustered at stem tips. Flower: bisexual, radial; sepals 2, fused at base, lower part fused to ovary and generally persistent in fruit; petals [4]5[7], fused at base, forming ring, yellow [magenta, rose, orange, white]; stamens 4--20[> 20], epipetalous or not, anthers yellow; ovary 1/2-inferior, chamber 1, ovules several to many, placenta free-central; style branches [2]3--6[12]. Fruit: capsule, circumscissile. Seed: many, reniform, +- tubercled, black, gray, [brown, +- blue].
Genera In Family: 1 genus, +- 100 species: +- worldwide, especially tropics, subtropics some cultivated (Portulaca grandiflora Hook.; Portulaca umbraticola Kunth). Note: All other California genera previously in this family now in Montiaceae.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gilberto Ocampo
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: PortulacaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Etymology: (Probably Latin: small gate or door, from capsule lid)

Portulaca oleracea L.
Habit: Annual, +- perennial herb. Stem: spreading, 3--40 cm. Leaf: 3--30 mm. Inflorescence: flowers 1--8. Flower: sepals 2.5--5 mm, green or +- red; petals 3--5 mm, yellow; stamens 5--12[20]; style branches 3--6. Fruit: 2--4.5 mm wide. Seed: 0.6--1 mm wide, dark brown to black. Chromosomes: 2n=18,36,54.
Ecology: Disturbed soil; Elevation: < 2100 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA; Distribution Outside California: probably native to eastern hemisphere, widely naturalized elsewhere. Flowering Time: Apr--Oct
Synonyms: Portulaca granulato-stellulata (Poelln.) Ricceri & Arrigoni; Portulaca nitida (Danin & H.G. Baker) Ricceri & Arrigoni; Portulaca oleracea subsp. granulato-stellulata (Poelln.) Danin & H.G. Baker; Portulaca oleracea subsp. nitida Danin & H.G. Baker; Portulaca oleracea subsp. oleracea; Portulaca oleracea subsp. papillato-stellulata Danin & H.G. Baker; Portulaca papillato-stellulata (Danin & H.G. Baker) Danin; Portulaca retusa Engelm.
Unabridged Note: Evidence indicates that Portulaca oleracea is not monophyletic. Some specimens found in DMoj seem to belong to either Portulaca oleracea subsp. impolita Danin & H.G. Baker or to a lineage more close related to Portulaca johnstonii Henrickson; study needed.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gilberto Ocampo
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Previous taxon: Portulaca halimoides
Next taxon: Primulaceae

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botanical illustration including Portulaca oleracea


Citation for this treatment: Gilberto Ocampo 2017. Portulaca oleracea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 26, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 26, 2017.

Geographic subdivisions for Portulaca oleracea:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.