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[purs-leyn, -lin] /ˈpɜrs leɪn, -lɪn/
a low, trailing plant, Portulaca oleracea, having yellow flowers, used as a salad plant and potherb.
Compare purslane family.
any other plant of the purslane family.
1350-1400; Middle English purcelan(e) < Middle French porcelaine < Late Latin porcillāgin- (stem of porcillāgō), for Latin porcillāca, variant of portulāca portulaca Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for purslane
  • It's no more contradictory to eat a pig but not a dog than it is to eat arugula but not purslane.
  • Common purslane, horse purslane, ground spurge and spotted spurge are serious weed pests in commercially grown tomatoes.
British Dictionary definitions for purslane


/ˈpɜːslɪn; -leɪn/
a weedy portulacaceous plant, Portulaca oleracea, with small yellow flowers and fleshy leaves, which are used in salads and as a potherb
any of various similar or related plants, such as sea purslane and water purslane
Word Origin
C14 purcelane, from Old French porcelaine, from Late Latin porcillāgō, from Latin porcillāca, variant of portulāca
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for purslane

any of certain small, fleshy annual plants of the genus Portulaca (40-100 species), of the family Portulacaceae. The plants have prostrate, often reddish stems, with spoon-shaped leaves and flowers that open in the sunlight. The common purslane (P. oleracea), or pusley, is a widespread weed, recognizable by its small yellow flowers. P. oleracea sativa, known as kitchen garden pusley, is grown to some extent as a potherb, mostly in Europe. Rose moss (P. grandiflora), a trailing fleshy species, is cultivated as a garden ornamental for its brightly coloured, sometimes doubled flowers. All plants of the genus are known for their persistence; they grow well even in dry waste soil and can retain enough moisture to bloom and ripen seeds long after they have been uprooted. The capsules, which open by a lid, scatter many small seeds of great longevity.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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