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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Portulaca oleracea – Munyeroo ‘St. George’ (seed)

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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 (this seems to be a common feature of this species in the area) but seed set is abundant.

Care and Cultivation of Portulaca oleracea

Sow seed on the surface of a sandy well drained and aerated potting mix. Be careful not to wash seeds out when watering in or sprinkle after watering down the mix and then spray with a bottle to settle the seeds. Transplant once seedlings begin crowding each other. Extremely drought hardy, attractive ground cover succulent species.

Germination was 96% when seeds were exposed to 35/25°C day/night temperatures, but 25/10 °C day/night temperatures resulted in 15% germination. Light is also important in seed germination as seeds at 10-40°C under light conditions had relatively high germination compared to seeds kept in darkness at the same temperature (Biology and Control of Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). C. Proctor. 2013)

I get the feeling this species may benefit from either gibberelic acid or smoke treatment before sowing. We stock both. Otherwise, try and follow the germination tips above and germinate in hot conditions. The takeaway tek should be worth a try.

50+ seeds per packet


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