Purslane or spurge


This is going to be a very important blog entry.  Purslane is so important and so tasty that it deserves its own entry.   These two plants, purslane and spurge are very widespread.  Purslane tastes really good. Other than wild berries I think that purslane is my favorite foraging food. Learn this plant.  It could save your life.  Purslane grows near you.

This is purslane. b4It has red stems and kind of fat leaves.  It kind of reminds me of a succulent like a jade plant.  Purslane used to be a garden plant, but now it has escaped and even grows out of the cracks in my driveway.  It seems to like sunny, sandy soil.  Interestingly enough purslane is also very nutritious as it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, like seafood.

In nature it seems like similar plants grow near one another.    For example, the cure for poison ivy, jewel weed, grows near poison ivy.  And spurge grows near purslane.  You don’t want to eat spurge.  This is spurge.

b5Like purslane, spurge kind of has red stems too, but if you look closely you can see that the stems of spurge are more woody and thin.  Spurge radiates out from the center in a circle.  Purslane is an erect plant growing upright.  Spurge crawls along the ground.  Purslane has thickish jade plant like leaves and spurge leaves are thin growing across from one another on the stem.

Here’s another shot:

b1At the top is purslane and at the bottom is spurge.  You can see the difference right? I’m telling you purslane is one of the best wild edibles that you can forage.

This lemony, crisp nutritional powerhouse is neither, it’s actually a succulent. This accounts for its resemblance to a jade plant, and its water content. Many describe it as similar to arugula or spinach. It’s less bitter than arugula and less tannic than spinach. It can be prepared in many of the same ways as either.  In terms of nutrition, it’s a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. More good news: recent research has confirmed that purslane is one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “Purslane is one of the richest sources of ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is a precursor to DHA. In other words, if you can’t eat fish, purslane helps fight heart disease and stroke, too.”

Did you get that, if you can’t eat fish eat purslane to fight heart disease and stroke.  Easting purslane is like taking fish oil.

b6And the spurge plant ripped up on tossed on my driveway.  Now spurge is a weed and I shed no tear as it meets a drying death.

b7And purslane and now you have to be able to identify purslane and its close non-edible neighbor spurge.  Also, when you break a spurge stem it emits a white sap.  You can always ID spurge from it’s milky white sap.

Purslane also has a ton of medicinal properties,

Purslane has long been considered of value in the treatment of urinary and digestive problems. The juice has diuretic effects. 2 Purslane is also considered to be a “cooling aid” and cleansing stimulant of the kidneys, helpful in the bladder for urinary tract infection. The plant’s mucilagenous properties make it useful in GI problems. Besides having vermicidal properties, purslane has been reported to possess antifungal effects, with marked activity against the genus Trichophyton. The phenolic constituents of the plant exhibit antimicrobial effects.  Purslane, placed in animal feed, prevents diarrhea as well as provides immunostimulation in patient. Other sources mention purslane as effective in treating hookworms and amoebic dysentery. Clinical dataPurslane in a combination mouthwash demonstrated antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory effects. Skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, or sunburn may benefit from purslane. Other uses of the plant include a poultice for backache/dysmenorrhea; 1 neuropharmacological actions; and in cosmetics as a gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) source.

So GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY © and find yourself some purslane.

71 Responses to “Purslane or spurge”

  1. Western Mass Man Says:

    Another wonderful bit of knowledge.
    Thanks again Abraham.

  2. Malcolm Says:

    Great post. I have this all over my property.


  3. Sanjac Says:

    I grew up out west considering purslane a weed due to lack of knowledge. My mom used to call it pigweed I think. I now have both purslane and spurge here where I moved to Texas. Thank you for opening my eyes, I really appreciate this info.

  4. Michael Says:

    I’v been reating Purslane for three years. Love it. I especially love the nutrients I get from it. Good post, Abraham, and well presented.


  5. Abraham Says:

    Thanks everyone. I was walking through the “Big City” yesterday and I saw purslane growing up through cracks in the sidewalk. Food is growing for free every where if you just open your eyes.

  6. Riverwalker Says:

    Excellent post Abraham.

    Purslane is very common in my area of Texas and grows in quite a few places in my yard.


  7. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks Abraham! I pulled this plant out and killed it for 3 years before I found out its amazing qualities. Now I spread the seeds around before I eat it…

  8. Healthy In Me » Farm Pickup Says:

    […] have Raspberries and Strawberries, our fruit staple.  Then there is Arugula, Green Beans, Lettuce, Purslane*, Yellow Squash, Red Radishes, Basil, Peppers, Radicchio, Potatoes (Yellow Finn,) Cucumbers, and […]

  9. » the country estate Britta’s Spot on the Web Says:

    […] mystery plant has been identified as the very nutritious purslane. I want to taste it. Captioncicada shell after moltingCaptionEthiopian Teff grassCaptionquaking […]

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I read this article last week but didn’t really remember which was which. and yesterday I saw one of these and tasted a bit of a leaf and realized reading this again that I tasted the spurge. I have this little allergic reaction and a light cramp; not sure if it’s from my misadventure.

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  13. Anonymous Says:

    After reading the description of purslane I thought “Aha, I’ve got that in my garden!” but then I see the flowers are pink, not yellow. Does purslane come only with yellow flowers? I want to use it but want to make SURE its ok.

  14. Deborah Says:

    I stumbled upon your blog entry when I discovered I had purslane growning in my front yard in Long Island, and then realized I needed to know how to differentiate it from spurge… which also is growing in my front yard! Thanks for the AMAZING and comprehensive information.

  15. Greek Purslane Feta Salad | Cathartic Cuisine Says:

    […] Know the difference between Purslane and Spurge […]

  16. Henry Says:

    After discarding this plant as a weed for 20+ years we finally identified and appreciate it. Purslane grows here in North East Victoria, Australia, during the warm and hot months in our gardens. Thank you Abraham for “Opening our eyes” to this wonderful plant.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Spurge is also very useful. While not edible, the milky white sap works wonders on warts and acne.

  18. http://9Mmo.com/y9r Says:

    So while the trader 247. As you’re doing and I needed psychotherapy. When I used to call this a system of self-regulation.

  19. Peggy Creekmore Sorensen Says:

    I have a lot of purslane growing in the garden. I either put it up if it’s around my veggies or I break off stems and let it continue to grow. I either put it in pickle juice or I ferment it. Either way, it stays crunchy and tastes like pickles on a sandwich or salad or straight out of the jar..

  20. thecrunchymamachronicles Says:

    Here is a link with some close up pictures of prostrate spurge: http://www.msuturfweeds.net/details/_/prostrate_spurge_38/

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks so much.
    Best info about purslane I have ever read.
    Purslane is slimy too.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I always thought I was allergic to purslane, not realizing it was spurge the whole time. I do see both plants in my concrete cracks, but didn’t think anything of it. Thank you for such clear pictures, and such an easy to follow article. I will test the purslane soon to be sure if that one is ok for my very sensitve skin. If so, I may have a nibble…

  23. Akilah Says:

    Great items from you, man. I have consider your stuff previous to
    and you’re just too great. I really like what you have got here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it.

    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise.
    I cant wait to learn much more from you. That is really a wonderful website.

  24. Patricia Ridge Says:

    Thank you for making it so easy to differentiate between purslane and spurge, both of which are growing in the cracks of my New Orleans area driveway as well as in my potted plants. I do have what I consider a rather important question, though. Are ALL purslane plants edible, including the cultivated varieties found in garden centers, or is only wild purslane (the so-called weed) edible? Thank you for your excellent input on this important source of free, nutritious food.

  25. Vickie Says:

    This was a great article. I’m new to foraging for wild plants and still leery of it. Your description and photos were a great help. A big Thank You!

  26. diane Reimers Says:

    Does purslane have tiny pink flowers on an slight stalk? I am not finding yellow flowers.

  27. John Says:

    Thank you for the great information.

  28. nickybulger Says:

    Thank you for this I see I have both types of plants I love learning about wild edibles.

  29. jn Says:

    Just curious why you would say “if you can’t eat fish…”. Fish is the most polluted of the animal foods, with dangerous levels of mercury, and fishing the oceans is making them collapse. Seems like purslane is a far superior choice when it comes to ALA, plus it’s free if you have a plant.

    Flax is also better for you and the planet than fish oil.

  30. DebbieJ Says:

    Just picked out the spurge from around my purslane plants this afternoon in Phoenix AZ. This was a great article and wish I had seen it a few years ago when I thought purslane was a weed. I realized it was edible when it came as part of my CSA share one day! Live and learn.

  31. Venkat t reddy Says:

    Good information on nutritive benefits of weed like purslane.try to popularise,in our area…telangana…it is a most loving leafy vegetable in summer…it seems it gives cooling effects and nurtures body greatly.

  32. Bonnie Shaw Says:

    I don’t know if it is the climate or elevation in my location in NE Tennessee, but haven’t found any purslane since i moved here. Any info on seeds for this or is anyone willing to send some so i could start in pots and introduce it to my property. I have missed it from earlier time and location. Message me on Facebook. thanks

  33. Renee Says:

    Considering this post [ http://www.naturalnews.com/047361_purslane_edible_weeds_omega_3_fatty_acids.html ] – broadcast today on Facebook – the information you provide here is FABULOUSLY HELPFUL!! Thank you!

  34. nerves Says:

    I am not certain the place you are getting your info, however
    great topic. I needs to spend a while finding out more or working out more.
    Thank you for fantastic information I used to be searching for this info for my

  35. Anonymous Says:

    we have this in ourback yard, how are we going o use it, meaning how are we going to prepare this for food supplement or for medicinal purposes tks

  36. leo ElTejano calleros Says:

    I remember as a child gathering purslane from the back yard for my grandmother to cook for us. I especially loved it quickly pan friend along with whole boiled beans served with scrambled eggs. So simple yet so so good.

  37. pearl Says:

    Hade this a lot as a kid with pork meat or. Pinto beans onions tomatos.tomato sauce &seasonings yum &a side of rice best meal in a low incom family

  38. Anonymous Says:

    thamk you so much for this.opened my eyes to this ladonna hinch

  39. nutty and nice Says:

    Question is.. how to prepare it? Because it is from a succulent family like the aloe vera, some people may have allergic reactions.

  40. James Paterson Says:

    Our plants have yellow flowers. So are they purslane or spurge?

  41. Abraham Says:

    If you post or email me a picture of the plants I’ll let you know. Yellow flowers sounds like purslane though.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    it is a local plant grown in and around we call this as “Onagonne soppu” in Kannada language it has very medicinal values in local proveb people say “Onnagone soppu thindarey odha kannu baruthey” means if u eat this greens the lost eyesight is regained back.

  43. gail007 Says:

    Reblogged this on gail007.

  44. Ronda Kelly Says:

    I love this…..God bless you…Please add me to your mailing list about holistic plants.

  45. D S Cates Says:

    Does anyone know where to purchase seeds for purslane? Also,a source for plantain? Thank you Abraham for the very helpful article. The pictures helped A Lot!!

  46. Marcie McAdams Says:

    I did not know this. I have pulled both of them out thinking weeds I didn’t want. Now I know the difference. Thanks

  47. Anonymous Says:

    Along with the great benefits of purslane, is anyone concerned about the oxalates in purslane? Eating too much may be harmful due to the high oxalates in purslane.

  48. Anonymous Says:

    Great information. Very helpful. Thank you!

  49. scooter Says:

    Spurge gives me a rash on my hands but the other I started transplanting aroudn the house because I lioved the way it looks especially with the yellow flowers! It’s very nice groud covering. Good for warts? hmmm

  50. Marge Says:

    thank you for the information. is all purslane supposed to bloom? I have an abundance of the kind that does not bloom. can I get it to bloom?

  51. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for highlighting the differences. I found both right outside but only ate the purslane.

  52. Yang Says:

    I wish you had a Pinterest button. I was searching up and down hoping to pin this article so that I can re-read again in the future!

  53. Ellen J Brummel Says:

    since I learned the value of purslane, I go out to my garden in the summer and pick it, and then I blend it into a healthy milkshake in the morning, or I blend it with stevia and other herbs, with water. It actually helps me get some better focusing, and my system feels clean and toned up.

  54. Dwain Mccrimon Says:

    excellently workspacethe iron tekara unct possesses side dashes saudis both rays shirts

  55. Mark Miller Says:

    What about the high oxalate levels???

  56. madnblog Says:

    I think I have purslane growing outside my home but the leaves of this plant closes upwards at night which you didn’t mention in your article.
    Does purslane do that?

  57. Emalie Steele Says:

    I ate two leaves of spurge thinking it was purslane will I be sick?

  58. Anonymous Says:


  59. Sharon K Andrews Says:

    I have a weed that looks like purslane but the leave are more pointed than your pictures. I did taste one, not lemony but not bitter??
    Also not milky like spurge? Any ideas?

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  62. Sally Says:

    This was the absolutely Best, most thorough and understandable information I found. Excellent job! I now know I have both purslane and spurge growing in my yard and which one is which. I looked at many websites and couldn’t figure it out. Thank you.

  63. Marina Heilman Says:

    Excellent information. I ended up here searching for an English translation of a Spanish word in a book students are reading. Now I can get some of the purslane in my yard & take it in for a “Show & Tell” to add to their knowledge! 🙂

  64. Sue Says:

    For 36 years I cussed as I pulled purslane daily from my garden. It grew like, well, a weed! I swear it went from 1” to 15” overnight! I will never eat it but at least I won’t feel bad throwing it over the fence to the neighbors chickens now.

  65. Diana Says:

    Heard of the Greek Mediterranean diet? In Greece, Purslane grows rampant. We take off the little leaf clusters from the vines; wash, and put these in a Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. To die for. You don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t utilize this little gem.
    I don’t have any growing here in the U.S. but I have bought some seeds and plan to grow soon.

  66. don jones Says:

    ommpland@gmail.com can send you sell you a patch in a wet ziplock and u replant ,very vigorous i have patches 20 buks for a handfull of starts from oregon kalmiopsis wilderness.the fruit of a king,purslane,great with any dish.

  67. don jones Says:

    one patch will grow n keep growing ,more water more food

  68. 100 Prepping Tasks You Can Do In 5 Minutes or Less - The Organic Prepper 1 Says:

    […] Learn the difference between purslane and spurge. […]

  69. 100 Prepping Tasks You Can Do In 5 Minutes or Less - The Daily Coin Says:

    […] Learn the difference between purslane and spurge. […]

  70. Douglas Parker Says:

    Can Purslane have hairy stems? Because I found a plant with succulent leaves and thick reddish stems and look exactly like the purslane in your picture but it has hair. Is that normal? I am away from home for a while so I can’t test for milky sap.

  71. Abraham Says:

    I haven’t seen purslane with hairy stems.

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