Portulaca oleracea L.

Portulaca oleracea L.




Portulaca oleracea L. ssp. oleracea, Portulaca oleracea L. ssp. sativa (Haw.) Schübl. & Mart.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Gelang pasir, segan jantan, rumput beremi.
English Purslane.

Gelang, krokot (Java), re-sereyan (Madura).

Thailand Phakbia-yai (Central), phakbia-dokluang.

Golasiman (Tagalog), ngaluk (Ilocano), alusiman (Bicol).

Cambodia Maông dâb phkaa.

Taa kôngz, biaz.

Vietnam Rau sam.


Geographical Distributions

Portulaca is a genus consisting of about 40 species, mainly tropical and subtropical in distribution. In Southeast Asia, 5 species are present. P. oleracea is a cosmopolitan weed (wild and cultivated) whose origin is unknown. Mexico and Australia are considered to be centres of its diversity. The cultivated forms probably originated in the Old World.


Portulaca oleracea is an erect or ascending annual herb that can grow up to 50 cm tall. The leaves are obovate to spoon-shaped, measuring 2-40 mm x 1-20 mm, and with inconspicuous axillary hairs measuring up to 1 mm long.

The inflorescences are 2-30-flowered, with 2-8 involucral leaves, with carinate sepals and measuring up to 6 mm x 6 mm. There are (4-)5 yellow petals, which are broadly obovate and measuring up to 7 mm x 6 mm. There are 7-10(-15) stamens which are usually alongside 5-armed style.

The fruit is ovoid and measuring about 4 mm x 3 mm. The granulate seeds measure 0.5-1.2 mm in diametre. The testa cells are stellulate with many fine tubercles.

Ecology / Cultivation

Portulaca oleracea is more tolerant of lower temperatures, it occurs in Java up to elevations of 1800 m. For P. oleracea, populations are often adapted to certain climatic and edaphic conditions. Diploid populations often grow as halophytes in coastal areas, tetraploids are found in the widest range of latitudes and altitudes while hexaploids are found mainly at high latitudes and altitudes.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.