Portulaca quadrifida L.

First published in Mant. Pl.: 73 (1767)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Tropical & Subtropical Old World to SW. Pacific. It is a succulent annual or subshrub and grows primarily in the seasonally dry tropical biome.

Descriptions

Portulacaceae, Sylvia M. Phillips. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2002

Morphology General Habit
Prostrate, mat-forming annual or short-lived perennial; stems spreading to 30 cm or more, much branched, rooting freely from the nodes, articulated, fleshy and often flushed reddish.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, elliptic to ovate, 5–10(–14) mm long, 1.5–3(–4) mm wide subacute to obtuse, the nerves obvious; nodes with a dense whorl of whitish hairs 2–6 mm long, some hairs scale-like at the base, a few narrowly lanceolate scales intermixed.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Flowers solitary at the tips of short lateral branches, surrounded by 4 involucral leaves and copious hairs.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Sepals ovate, 3–4(–5.8) mm long; petals 4, usually yellow, rarely apricot, pinkish or red, 3.5–6(–10) mm long; stamens 7–16; stigma 4-branched.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule dehiscing near the base, basal part a very thin persistent rim, lid conical or dome-shaped, 2–4 mm high, thinly papyraceous; seeds semi-orbicular in outline, ± 1 mm long, dull grey, testa cells shallowly convex to domed, often with a central tubercle, the marginal walls obvious, straight and thick.
Habitat
Bare patches and among rocks, on sandy or stony soils, in disturbed places and as a weed of cultivation; 0–2000 m
Distribution
throughout Africa and tropical Asia but absent from Australiawarm parts of the New World K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 P T1 T2 T3 T6 T8 U1
[FTEA]

Portulacaceae, H. Wild. Flora Zambesiaca 1:2. 1961

Morphology General Habit
Prostrate annual herb with a somewhat swollen tap-root; stems often reddish and sometimes rooting at the nodes, sometimes reaching 25 cm. long and c. 1 cm. in diam.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite; lamina fleshy, up to 10 × 4 mm. but often much less and frequently somewhat shrunk in dried specimens, elliptic, lanceolate, elliptic-oblong or rarely cordate-ovate, apex acute or obtuse, both surfaces more or less flattened; petiole c. 1 mm. long; stipular hairs whitish, numerous, 3–5 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 1–4 at the ends of the branches, surrounded by 4 leaves often somewhat larger than the cauline ones, and by numerous hairs c. 4 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 2–4 × 1·5–3·5 mm., ± triangular, obtuse, united at the base.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4 (5), yellow or orange or very rarely pink or purplish, almost free, c. 5 × 3 mm., elliptic to ovate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 8–12.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Ovary conical-ovoid; style c. 5 mm. long, thickened at the apex and with 4 spreading stigmas.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule conical-ovoid, dehiscing horizontally c. 1/3of the way up.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds many, c. 1 mm. in diam., greyish, reniform, verrucose with blunt tubercles.
[FZ]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Annual or short-lived perennial with prostrate stems rooting adventitiously from nodes to form mats
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, usually very shortly petiolate, ± ovate to narrow elliptic, very fleshy, up to 10(–18) x 4 mm, tip subacute; nodes with whorl of hairs, sometimes very profuse, and a few narrow-lanceolate scales
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 1–4 within an involucre of 4 larger leaves and many hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals triangular-ovate, 2–4 mm long, ± hooded at tip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4(–5), dull yellow or pale orange, very rarely pink or red, c. 4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 8–12(?–18)
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma 4-lobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule conical-ovoid, dehiscing c. 1/3rd way up, very thin-walled
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds c. 0.8–1 mm long, dull grey; testa cells with straight margins, usually dome-shaped but rarely ± conical or almost flat.
Distribution
N1, 3; C1; S2, 3 ± cosmopolitan weed of tropical and temperate areas.
Ecology
Altitude range 15–1450 m. Collections from sand-dunes often have the nodal hairs so profuse that the rest of the plant is ± concealed.
[FSOM]

Portulacaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954

Morphology General Habit
A prostrate or decumbent herb with pinkish stems
Morphology Leaves
Fleshy leaves very variable in shape size
Morphology General Indumentum
Conspicuously woolly at the nodes
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers yellow.
Ecology
A common ruderal, but in Sierra Leone only seen in a few towns.
[FWTA]

Uses

Use
A frequent and often troublesome weed in countries with higher rainfall.
[FSOM]

Common Names

English
Purslane, Pusley, Wild purslane

Sources

  • Art and Illustrations in Digifolia

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew
  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Somalia

    • Flora of Somalia
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Science Photographs

    • Copyright applied to individual images
  • Plants and People Africa

    • Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
    • © Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/