GROWTH HABIT: A fleshly, prostrate annual with smooth reddish or flesh-colored stems. Branches radiating from a central rooting point reach lengths in excess of 12 inches and form dense vegetative mats.
LEAVES: Smooth, shiny, succulent leaves are somewhat teardrop-shaped, wider at the tip than at the base.
FLOWER: Five-petalled yellow flowers are borne singly in leaf axils, and open only in sunshine.
SEEDS: Numerous, tiny, black seeds are produced in capsules resembling flower buds.
OTHER: Introduced from Europe, common purslane has become a troublesome weed in cultivated fields and gardens. It is especially persistent in soils that remain moist much of the time. Production of seed throughout the growing season, and the ability to root again after cultivation make this plant especially difficult to control. Seeds can remain dormant in the soil for years before germinating. Purslane has limited value as a potherb, but is rarely eaten.