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Purslane, Discovering Some Other Names For This Noxious Weed

Updated on January 14, 2014

Purslane view, Greatly enlarged - Ma Chi Xian


Purslane in English and Ma Chi Xian for the Chinese

I was on a roll after Daniel and Armando left; I headed onto our office and turned on my laptop computer. While the computer was booting up, I grabbed a glass of water and some crackers to eat. This took a few minutes, but I was soon in front of the computer screen typing in the terms glistritha and verdolagas. Glistritha brought up 473 results and verdolagas brought up 537,000 results, so I decided to investigate the verdolagas sites first.

The first page for verdolagas had ten links to look at, seven sites about information concerning how to cook ir eat the plant, one UTube dealing with harvesting and cooking the plant, a Wikipedia entry, and a dictionary entry. That left 536,999 pages still to look at. Looks like the name verdolagas is used by a lot of people. But, that makes sense because of the large Hispanic population in America. I don't know what the numbers are regarding which nations and peoples have and use computers worldwide, but I suspect that the USA ranks very high; lol, the Chinese probably have another name for verdolagas. One thing that I did find out on the Wikipedia sites for Verdolagas is that the common English name for verdolagas is "Purslane" and its scientific name is "Portulaca oleracea." After thinking about the Chinese, I decided to check out the possibilities. After typing the term "Chinese name for Portulaca oleracea" into my Chrome search engine, I found that Chinese name was "Ma Chi Xian" for my new friend Purslane. When I entered the term "Ma Chi Xian" into the search engine, I found that there were 3,190,000 pages for that term with the first site being a medical site. Looks to me like the Chinese like wild, invasive, noxious weeds; the Chinese are very interested in the medicinal properties of the plant as well as for food.

After spending several hours on my Purslane information search, I turned the computer off and headed for the local mall with my wife. At this point, she wasn't too interested in my latest (what she calls a wild goose chase) endeavor. I, at this point was very interested, but tomorrow is another day. Enough for now.

This vignette is the third in a group whereby I came to an appreciation of the so-called weed, purslane, as a very valuable addition to my salads and other food dishes that I eat. It is valuable primarily because of its benefit to my health and also because, being wild and cultivated it is easy to locate and harvest. I list the additional vignettes below:

Vignette 1: Purslane, the Noxious Weed That Greeks (and Others) Love

Vignette 2: Purslane, the Noxious Weed That Mexicans (and Others) Love

Portulaca oleracea (Purslane) up close


Purslane For Health and For Medicine

In the West, it has been known for many generations that Purslane is healthy and in modern times researchers have found out all of the reasons. For instance, Purslane is noted for being one of the top plants in the world because of the large amount of Omega-3; in fact Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. Purslane is a common plant, but with all of nutritious contents, it is uncommonly good for you.

As Mother Earth News reports in its April/May 2005 Issue:

Until recently, most research on purslane has focused on its eradication. A frequently overlooked approach to controlling this weed is to eat it! Purslane is so surprisingly tasty, North Carolina market gardener Patryk Battle says, “I have rarely had anybody not buy purslane after they’ve tried it.”

One incident that occurred concerning Purslane in my life was the day I was driving down the road and noticed my next door neighbor, Bonnie, down on her hands and knees in her newly planted lawn. I was living in the Sierra Nevada foothills at the time at about 2000 feet and up there lawns are not a good idea, but my neighbor had one. So my wife and I stopped to see what was happening. She was pulling Purslane out of her lawn and she was not happy, complaining "I don't know what this weed is, but it has taken over my new lawn." I told her, "it is Purslane, it is good to eat, it contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant, it is good for your husbands heart, etc." My wife got out to help and between the three of us, we filled up three buckets with the weed (five gallon buckets) and I convinced her that I wanted the weed and I would bring the buckets back. So, there I was with five buckets of Purslane. One bucket made my chickens very happy, one bucket made the goats further down the road very happy and the next door chickens too. I should have told Bonnie that her horses would have loved the Purslane, but too much at once might have caused digestive problems. Plus, my wife and I kept some for home usage.

Purslane can be used for animal fodder; a Russian lady told me that in Russia, they put dried Purslane in the barn for winter fodder, it grows well there and the cattle love it. There are studies indicating that adding Purslane to chicken feed brings about increased egg production and increased egg weight and at the same time increasing the Omega 3 content. I wonder if it helps to make better yolks than are normally found in the weak supermarket eggs. Another report indicates that it actually has great value when left alone in garden areas and flower beds because the roots are able to penetrate difficult soils and bring up nutrients to the surface as well as providing pathways for plant roots to head downward. Also Purslane growing around other plants helps to moisturize the nearby soil area. But, it is invasive, so the wise gardener needs to control the plant and use it for its assets and pull out the excess for the kitchen and the animals.


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