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Driveway purslane - would it be safe to eat?  RSS feed

 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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I didn't plant this purslane, but it is a very nutritious food (some facts). The question is, is it safe to eat even though it is growing on the driveway?

There are no oil stains or other spills on the driveway. The only thing that I can think of contaminating this is tires driving over it.

I have taken some of the purslane growing here and have transplanted it into my garden, because I don't want my driveway to deteriorate, but I would still like to be able to eat some in addition to transplanting most of it. Here is Green Dean's (Eat The Weeds) episode on purslane, talking about transplanting it: http://youtu.be/8tw8DcGAGmo?t=4m28s

FYI, I tried some of it and it was rather good tasting. I tried his recipe for purslane potato salad on this page: http://www.eattheweeds.com/purslane-omega-3-fatty-weed/. It was very good.

A few pictures:




Thanks,

Noah
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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Collect the seed and plant it where you can grow it toxin free. They will be like black fine grain sand inside little cups after the flowers fall away. When you see a good amount of mature ones carefully pull the plant up and shake into a clean container.
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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I have scattered some seeds I exchanged a while back, but none came up where I spread them so far. I have taken some of the seed pods from this plant also and dumped them other places. I could always just transplant as many as possible and not eat *this* generation of them and eat whatever volunteers spring up later.

Anyway, do you think this situation is actually toxic? Is eating from around the driveway just a bad idea regardless of the specifics? That's what I was really trying to determine. I am hesitant to waste such a gift, but of course I want to avoid actual harm.

Thanks,

Noah
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 356
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Probably less toxic, more environmentally friendly and healthier(get those omega 3s!!!) than lettuce from 3,000 miles away. I'd eat it.
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 410
Location: Otago, New Zealand
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Anyway, do you think this situation is actually toxic? Is eating from around the driveway just a bad idea regardless of the specifics? That's what I was really trying to determine. I am hesitant to waste such a gift, but of course I want to avoid actual harm.


The only way to know would be to test it. It's going to depend on how often a car is stopped and started there, what kind of fuel it uses etc. You can get pollution from exhaust emissions, fine particles from tyres (including heavy metals), anything that is used to wash the car, accrued road pollution that washes off the car in rain etc.

Toxicity of anything is related to dose. If the drive and soil underneath are heavily contaminated you could eat the purslane once and be fine, or eat it daily and start accumulating toxins. It's also related to your overall toxin load and your body's ability to process that.

I tend to agree with the comment about the lettuce and I have harvested wild greens from roadsides, but the idea of harvesting out of a drive like that doesn't sit quite right with me personally. On the other hand, if I wasn't getting any other high nutrient greens I'd probably eat the purslane while I propagated some elsewhere.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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Location: FL
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Purslane is easy to propagate. It takes the abuse and shock of transplanting, but you still have whatever was on/in the plant in the previous location. It grows readily from cuttings. Cuttings will still have some contaminants from the driveway, but this will dilute as the plant grows in the new location. It puts out an abundant supply of seeds. If in doubt as to the safety of the driveway plants, use it as parent plants.
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 202
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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I was taught to never eat anything in or near the driveway or road. Little gas and oil drips on the plants.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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If that was the only purslane I would eat it, I love purslane.

I am most cautious of plants by older busy roads. I wouldn't eat anything that has gas or oil on it but my cars don't drip.

it is a plant that grows well in dramatic circumstances like a driveway, but I don't ordinarily see it in moist rich places like the garden proper. When I worked on an organic farm I did see it in the rows, but that was not a permaculture system.
 
                        
Posts: 66
Location: San Diego
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Personally I would avoid eating plants from a driveway (too prone to contamination). If it is growing in your driveway it is amost certainly also growing in the ground in your garden or nearby. I'd search it out in an area less prone to contamination. It's growing habit in those places may be flatter; lying on top of the ground rather than as upright as the ones in your driveway.
 
                              
Posts: 18
Location: Upper Midwest
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I agree that micro spray drops are likely to be on the plants. While Purslane is high in omega 3, it is also very high in oxalates which are toxic. Feed a little purslane to the chickens every day and then eat their eggs.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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If you eat apples or lettuce from the local supermarket then I would say this is probably safer. Me personally? I'd eat it - I would also throw a pile in an area that gets full sun and very little attention - it will probably come back next year.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I found purslane growing in a place where some wood ashes had fallen last year. I wonder if it likes, or is especially tolerant of, alkalinity.
 
Ernie DeVore
Posts: 24
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Drips and spills from automobiles are not your only concern. Many fine particulates come out in exhaust fumes and settle by the roadway and none of them are good for you. I have not seen any studies on whether or not those toxins are taken up by the plants and stored in the plant tissue, but I'm not taking any chances. I want to eat healthy. If I have to ask the question whether something is growing in a healthy location, then my default answer is always no.

My heart bleeds for city people who only find edible plants in cracks and toxic flower beds. My hat is off to you for recognizing purslane, which is one of the most delicious of the edible plants, but I'd avoid driveway and crack plantings. Are there no areas near you which would be safer to forage in?

In a pinch, you could pull up stalks of that stuff and plant it in better soil in a garden bed. If it blooms and sets seed then you'll have a bed seeded with delicious "weeds" which will reward you for delicately trimming them back. I find a strange synergy in my beds between tomato plants and purslane. They don't seem to compete at all, occupying different "levels" on the Z axis. Their only consideration is having enough water for both.

 
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