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

Origin:

Native of Australia.

Habit:

Annual succulent with prostrate branched stems.

Habitat:

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.

Sources:

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.