Wednesday, 23 September 2015

SA Garden Catalogue: Portulaca Oleracea

Scientific name: Portulaca oleracea
Common name: Purslane, Moss rose
Malay name: Ros Jepun
Family: Portulacaceae
Origin: South America (?)

The Purslane in my little urban garden is of the Portulaca oleraceae, a small semi-perennial fleshy herb bearing showy flowers in many colour variants, ranging from yellow to orange to pinks and reds. The two containers I have bear yellow flowers only.

The plants are free-flowering throughout the year, but get moribund (near dying!) rather quickly and need to be renewed by cuttings. I have done this and so multiplied the single container of these plants my good neighbour gave me to two.

The bright pretty flowers are radially symmetrical with four to six petals. They open in the morning (at about 9 o'clock) and close in the afternoon (at about 5 o'clock from my observation). Flowers that go to work 9 to 5! They grow well in full sun on well-drained soil, and are easy to propagate by cuttings.

Note: The Portulaca oleracea differs from the other common Purslane Portulaca grandiflora in having broad instead of narrow leaves and the flowers are multi-layered. Once upon a time in Pulau Pinang we grew P. grandiflora in many colours on our lawn. Maybe I should try growing it again. Anyone with cuttings for me?

The weather in September saw some rains but the air pollution index in Shah Alam was sometimes above 200.
5 Dec 2015

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