Winter Purslane


Winter Purslane is a cut and come again herb. The leaves are a bit "succulent" (e.g. fleshy.) Young leaves are preferred; they get bitter as they age or during very hot summers. Leaves from plants in full sun tend to be more bitter as well. The stems are also eaten.

Many people feel, though, that the flavour is pretty bland.

Winter Purslane is an annual plant that self-seeds. Where the winters are mild, thought, it will grow year round. The seeds must be sown by late winter at the latest in order for them to germinate. The plant will survive temperatures down to 5 F (-15 C) before it is killed.

It grows in mounds about a foot tall and a foot wide (30 x 30 cm), in any type of shade or sunlight. It blossoms from May to July with tiny white flowers with 5 petals that are pollinated by flies.

In Germany, it is cultivated in greenhouses.

Cooking Tips

Winter Purslane can be used as a fresh herb in salads, or as a pot herb.

Storage Hints

Store covered with a damp cloth in refrigerator up to 6 or 8 days.

History Notes

Winter purslane is native to the western coast of North America.


It was used first by natives, who introduced white settlers to it. It was spread to Cuba and to the eastern coast of North America, and from there to Europe and Australia.

It is now naturalized in the UK

Language Notes

The Clayton is one of the scientific names refers to a John Clayton, who was a botanist in the 1600s.