|Fig. 1. Common purslane.|
|Fig. 2. Common purslane in thin turf.|
|Fig. 3. Arrows marking purslane seedlings.|
|Fig. 4. Common purslane is a common weed along sidewalks and in gardens and landscape beds.|
|Fig. 5. Ornamental purslane. "Toucan Hot Mix' shown.|
Identification: A succulent broadleaf, purslane has fleshy, glabrous (smooth) leaves and stems. Leaves are green with a red margin, lack a petiole, and are rounded at the tip. Additionally, the leaves of purslane can be alternately arranged near the crown of the plant and become opposite or whorl-like towards the apex. Stems are plump, red in color, and originate from a central point to from a rosette. Prostrate spurge is a look-a-like weed to purslane (Fig. 6). Prostrate spurge will have smaller leaves and stems and a more strictly opposite leaf arrangement that purslane. Additionally, spurge, like milkweed, will exude a white sap when the stem is severed. Purslane has a yellow flower (Figs. 7 & 8) that is rarely seen and following pollination, its seed pods (Fig. 9) can hold many seeds (Fig. 10).
|Fig. 6. Prostrate spurge (left) and common purslane (right).|
|Fig. 7. Common purslane flowering.|
|Fig. 8. Close-up of the common purslane flower.|
|Fig. 9. Following pollination and ovule fertilization, a seed pod encapsulates the seed.|
|Fig. 10. When the seed pod opens, many seeds (>20) per pod are spilled onto the ground.|
Cultural control: Common purslane is generally not an issue in a healthy and well-established turf stand, but it can be found in thin or newly established areas. Thus, cultural practices that improve the competitive ability of the existing turf and/or promote the establishment of a new stand are the best methods of purslane management, prevention, and control.
Biological control: The purslane sawfly (Schizocerella pilicornis) and the portulca leaf-mining weevil (Ceutorhynchus portulacea or Hypurus portulacea) can contribute to reducing purslane infestations, though total control may not be realistic.
Chemical control:Triclopyr, fluroxypyr, and dicamba are the most effective herbicides for postemergent purslane control in cool-season turf. In addition to the herbicides already listed, metsulfuron or a combination of sulfentrazone and metsulfuron can be used in warm-season turf for postemergent purslane control. For preemergent purslane control, spring applications of isoxaben or late-winter applications of simazine can be used in cool-season and warm-season turf, respectively.
For more information on weed control, search this blog and check out our Turfgrass Weed Control for Professionals Publication.
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Quincy Law, Graduate Research Assistant, Purdue University
Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist, Purdue University
- Darlington, H.T. and G.P. Steinbauer. 1961. The eighty-year period for Dr. Beal’s Seed Viability Experiment. American Journal of Botany 48:321-325.
- Miyanishi, K. and P.B. Cavers. 1981. Effects of hoeing and rototilling on some aspects of the population dynamics of pure stands of Portulaca oleracea L. (purslane). Weed Research 21:47-58.
- Proctor, Christopher. 2013. Biology and control of common purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- Zimmerman, C.A. 1970. The causes and characteristics of weediness in Portulaca oleracea L. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Michigan.