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Purslane--any poisonous look-alikes?

 
gardener
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I've tried several times to get some good purslane naturalized in my yard. When we bought our property, it was devoid of any wild edibles.

I used yellow purslane seeds from Baker Creek. In seedling cups. No germination.

I gave up and  recycled the soil into other growing projects. I bought a purslane plant from a big-box store and have kept it in a pretty pot on my front porch. I bring it in over the winter.

But now, two years later, I see what looks like purslane in my yard.

Trouble is, my chickens don't want to eat it. Also, its blossoms are pink. Not yellow. Makes me question whether it's really purslane.

Do you think this photo is of purslane? Do you know if purslane has any poisonous look-alikes?



purslane.jpg
Does this look like purslane to you?
Does this look like purslane to you?
 
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Stacie, I can't see the photo clearly enough to tell if it's purslane or not. I tried to enlarge it but it was too fuzzy.

As far as lookalikes, the word is that spurge is the closest lookalike and it IS poisonous. Not even any wild animals will eat it. Spurge and purslane very often can be found growing side by side. Myself, I don't think they resemble each other at all. There are many online articles about those two species and how to tell them apart.

Last summer, I was blessed with many wild volunteer purslane plants. Right beside every one of them was spurge.

Purslane has plump leaves; spurge's leaves are much smaller and super thin. Wish I could see your photo more clearly so I could help you.
 
master pollinator
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Apparently all spurges have milky sap - don't get the sap on your skin, as it's an irritant and what deterns animals from eating it.

Some portulacas (purslane relatives) have pink flowers.

Is there a local plant identification person you can ask to look at it? In some states spurge is a noxious weed, so the local agricultural board might be able to help.
 
Stacie Kim
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Thanks, M and James. I'll keep looking at the plants more closely. I'll go out in a bit to check for milky sap.

My local extension office would not be much help on plant identification, I think. We do have a botanical garden that might have some leads. But I'll do my best to research spurge vs. purslane so I can be certain of what I've got.

My fear is that if the chickens won't eat it, it's probably not good. But then again, they won't eat dandelions, either...
 
Stacie Kim
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Wish I could see your photo more clearly so I could help you.



One of the downsides of having an old "dumb" phone...LOL

I'll try to get a better picture with my kid's Kindle.
 
master pollinator
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My go to guy for edibles is Green Deane. Here's what he had to say bout the one with pink flowers...

It was something of a debate, to make this entry or not. After all, Purlane is one of the most esteemed wild and cultivated edibles in the world (except oddly the United States.) It is used as a salad ingredient, a vegetable, a soup thickener, a flour, and a pickle. And yes, the flowers are edible but they are only open for a day. And when I say purslane I mean Portulaca oleracea, the kind with yellow blossoms only. Yes, I know there are commercial cultivars of multiple colored blossoms and they might look wonderful in a salad. But, I don’t know if they are edible. The Moss Rose/Rose Moss, another wild Purslane, Portulaca pilosa, is in my estimate not edible. So I stick with the original, common purslane with the yellow blossom. They are edible raw and cooked. Incidentally, the tiny pink blossoms of the sea purslane, Sesuvium portulacastrum,  is also edible raw or cooked. From here.



And here is his post on the yellow flowered purslane.
 
pioneer
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Possibly Widows Cross (Sedum pulchellum) But it does look more like some type of Purselane.
 
Stacie Kim
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Wow, Joylynn, thank you! What a resource! I've bookmarked his site.

I'm bummed, because those blooms are definitely pink.

But now I'm motivated to get some more yellow purslane seeds and try again. From what I understand, they're super finicky to germinate. They actually need some light, so they must be practically set on the soil surface without covering.

I'm up for the challenge!!
 
pollinator
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I bought some manure and got some for free! My bf was puzzled by my excitement. 😂
 
pollinator
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Unsure if you'd be finding any in your area, but there's an inedible look alike common in the Southwest called Horse purslane, or desert horse purslane (Trianthema portulacastrum), that's also inedible.

Has pink flowers, not purple, but otherwise the only real difference between edible purslane and this is in the leaf shape. The edible purslane has leaves that are, generally, a little like a club - like the stereotype cartoon caveman club, LOL.  Horse purslane has leaves that are rounder, generally.  It can be hard to tell the two apart without having both present, though.
 
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