Guide to Purslane Identification & Control

Purslane Weed

Type of Weed: Broadleaf Weed

Portulaca oleracea


Purslane is a summer annual broadleaf weed, commonly found next to sidewalks and driveways, mulched natural areas, gardens, and lawns seeded in the summer. This succulent weed prefers warm conditions, sunny areas, and thrives in all soil types, allowing it to grow across the state of Texas. Purslane germinates in the spring and grows throughout the summer into the fall.

Purslane reproduces by seed and fragments of stem or leaves within the soil. Once matured, it can produce more than 50,000 seeds a year. These seeds can stay viable in the soil for forty years. This reproduction ability, combined with its prostrate growth habit, allows this weed the ability to overtake weak lawns and become a nuisance to remove.

How to Identify

Purslane stems originate from a single, shallow taproot, grow prostrate, and are thick, red to purple in color, and smooth. Leaves are smooth, green (sometimes with a red margin), teardrop shaped, succulent, and lack a petiole majority of the time.

Leaves are arranged alternately and clustered at stem joints. Purslane sprouts small, yellow flowers that have four to five notched petals. These flowers have multiple yellow stamens, pistils that bunch together in the middle, and are on leaf axils at stem joints.

Flowers can open on hot, sunny days, but only allow a single one per leaf cluster to open at a time. Flowers will turn into small, oval pods that contains multiple tiny brown-black seeds. Once the seeds mature, the pod bursts open to release the seeds.

Control Methods

Control Difficulty: Difficult

Purslanes shallow root system makes hand pulling or digging up an effective option to remove this weed. This will be most effective while the plant is still young, and hasn’t begun to flower.

Dig up from the center rosette, pulling up all of the root, and disposing in a bag. Double check that you have removed all roots, fragments of stems, and leaves, as purslane can easily self-root again.

In the summer and fall, applications of a selective post-emergent herbicide can help slow down growth, especially if done prior to the weed flowering. In spring and late fall, applications of a selective pre-emergent herbicide can deter it from returning the following season.

Prevention Tips

Having a healthy, dense lawn is key to preventing purslane. Mowing your lawns grass at its proper height, routine aeration and fertilization, along with proper irrigation will prevent weak patches in your lawn, discouraging growth of purslane or other weeds. On top of a healthy lawn, applications of a selective broadleaf weed pre and post-emergent herbicides throughout the year will be your best prevention.

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