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Vascular Plants of California
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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)
Reference: Matthews 2004 FNANM 4:496--501
Unabridged Reference: Danin et al. 1978 Israel J Bot 27:177--211; Legrand 1962 Anales Mus Hist Nat (Montevideo) 2a ser 7(3):1--147
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.
Jepson eFlora Author: Gilberto Ocampo
Reference: Matthews 2004 FNANM 4:496--501
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Portulaca oleracea

botanical illustration including Portulaca oleracea


Citation for this treatment: Gilberto Ocampo 2012, Portulaca oleracea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 01, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 01, 2023.

Portulaca oleracea
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© 2014 Keir Morse
Portulaca oleracea subsp. impolita
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© 2012 Keir Morse
Portulaca oleracea
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© 2014 Keir Morse
Portulaca oleracea subsp. impolita
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© 2012 Keir Morse
Portulaca oleracea
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© 2020 Neal Kramer
Portulaca oleracea
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© 2008 Keir Morse

More photos of Portulaca oleracea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Portulaca oleracea:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).