Portulaca oleracea – Munyeroo/Purslane (plant)
Portulaca oleracea occurs worldwide and there are many forms. Also called Purslane or in Australia, Pigweed. The Australian inland species generally have more compact growth with flowers that often do not open unless very hot conditions are experienced. They also have more succulent root systems and water storage tuber.
Taken from the Royal Botanic Gardens website; The tiny black seeds are one of the most important bush foods of inland Australia, containing up to 20 per cent protein and 16 per cent fat. Joseph Maiden (1889) reported that Aboriginal people ‘pulled up the plants, throwing them in heaps, which after a few days they turn over and an abundant supply of seed is found to have fallen out’. The seed is processed by grinding it on a flat rock with a hand-held stone. The resulting flour is made into a damper. Low (1989) comments that the oil from the seeds stains the grinding stones. The leaves and stems are also edible. They can be pounded into a mush and eaten raw, cooked as a vegetable or added to salads.
Generally purslane is known to have abundant omega-3 oils in the leaves. It also contains vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.
This type was collected near St. George in SW QLD and features short compact attractive growth and a succulent tuber that could be raised and used for bonsai. We have yet to see the flowers open but seed set is abundant.
Care and Cultivation of Portulaca oleracea
Portulaca oleracea is pretty easy to care for; full sun to part shade with well drained soil. Extremely drought hardy, attractive non-creeping ground cover succulent species.