Common Australian Garden Weeds

Portulaca oleracea

Scientific name: Portulaca oleracea L.

Fleshy stems and leaves of pigweed (Portulaca oleracea).

Close-up of the oblong leaves of pigweed.

Pigweed seedlings.

Close-up of the capsular fruit of pigweed. The fruit on the lower left has just opened to release several black seeds, while the fruit above is immature.

Common name: Pigweed, purslane

Family: Portulacaceae


Native of Australia.


Annual succulent with prostrate branched stems.


Common plant found throughout Australia, considered a weed of tended and waste areas.

General description:

Stems and leaves

Stems are succulent and reddish in colour. Leaves are wedge-shaped or oblong 0.5-2 0.3-1 cm with petioles (leaf stalks) 2-5 mm long. There are very short white hairs in the axils of the leaves.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers are yellow, with four to six petals 5 mm long, borne single or small clusters from the leaf axils. Fruits are egg-shaped 4-5 mm long. Seeds are glossy black with a warty surface. Flowers in summer.

Distinguishing characteristics:

A succulent prostrate herb with reddish stems and small oblong to wedge-shaped leaves with short (less than 1 mm long) hairs in the leaf axils. Flowers are small and yellow

Noxious status:

Not noxious. It is suspected to be poisonous to stock.


Kleinschmidt, H.E., Holland, A. and Simpson, P. (1996). Suburban Weeds. 3rd Edition. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.

Stanley, T.E. and Ross, E.M. (1983-1989). Flora of South-eastern Queensland. Volume 1. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.

Auld, B.A. and Medd, R.W. (1996). Weeds: An Illustrated Botanical Guide to Weeds of Australia. Inkata Press, Sydney.