Portulaca rubricaulis

(Portulaca rubricaulis)



Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is widely considered an edible plant, and in some areas it is invasive. Some Portulaca species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Nutmeg (Hadula trifolii). Purslane can be eaten raw or cooked, and lends itself to salads and lightly stir-fried dishes. When harvested early in the morning, the leaves and tender stems have a pleasant, mildly sour taste due to the overnight accumulation of malic acid, which is produced via CAM photosynthesis. It is relatively easy to grow in more northern climates, including the New England area in the United States; it grows very well in hot and dry summer months: the plant's switch to CAM photosynthesis and nightly malic acid production is a response to drought stress.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Magnoliopsida
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