If You See This Invasive “Miracle” Weed, Don’t Kill It, Eat It

Purslane is medicine, not a menace. It’s also a culinary delight making its way into farmer’s markets and fancy restaurants.

Purslane is one of many weeds in your garden that you might not want to kill. The semi-succulent super-food beloved by Ghandi, is now making a comeback in farmer’s markets and fancy restaurants.
It “sprouts from sidewalk cracks, invades gardens and earns contempt from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which classifies it as a “noxious weed,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

It’s also “a miracle plant,” Dr. Artemis Simopoulos told the Times.

President of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, Simopoulos discovered while working at the National Institutes of Health that the plant had the highest level of Omega-3 fatty acids of any other green plant.

The tear-shaped leaves of this succulent plant are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Plus, they’re delicious.

The cucumber-crisp leaves have a tart,  lemony tang, with a peppery kick, according to the chef-owner of Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Chicago Sergio Vitale.
Vitale grew up eating the weed in in southern Italy.”When you bite into it, it bursts,” he says.Purslane apparently tastes great in salads, stir-fries or straight out of the ground.If it’s not in your garden already, you can buy some seeds, toss them around, and watch them grow, like crazy.
Or for a quick fix, try a purslane supplement:
Here are 8 reasons to include purslane in your diet:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids. Purslane is a great source of the omega-3 fatty acids that are so scarce in the American diet, but so essential for brain and heart health. If you’re a vegan, this is one of the best sources you’ll find.
2. Antioxidants. Purslane is loaded with antioxidants, such as glutathione which protect cells from damage and slow aging.
3. Minerals. Purslane is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, folate and selenium, all lacking in the Standard American Diet and essential to good health.
4. Vitamin C. Great source of this immune-boosting vitamin.
5. Beta-carotene. Purslane is rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which most of us are seriously lacking in.
6. Melatonin. Purslane is a rare plant-source of melatonin, a hormone essential to regulating sleep.
7. Lowers cholesterol. Purslane contains betalain, an antioxidant that prevents cholesterol from damaging blood vessels and has a positive effect on LDL cholesterol levels.
8. Tryptophan. Purslane contains this important amino acid that regulates mood and fights depression.

Purslane also makes amazing chicken feed! A study found that hens whose diet included purslane experienced increased egg production, increased egg weight and increased omega-3 fatty-acid content in their yolks.

For more on the benefits of invasive weeds, check out the book Invasive Plant Medicine:





97 responses to “If You See This Invasive “Miracle” Weed, Don’t Kill It, Eat It”

  1. Kenneth LaVoie Avatar

    How much do you need? One plant? A bushel? Is it okay to eat it raw?

    1. Carol Avatar

      Once you have one plant, you will likely have many. It grows quickly and the seeds will spread with wind or by birds.
      Yes, you can eat it raw like in a salad. But it’s also used to thicken soups.

      1. Michael Avatar

        How do you identify this plant and make sure it’s Purslane?

    2. Sharon Pilsner Avatar
      Sharon Pilsner

      I’ve had it in my yard for ever, always tossed it out with the weeds, but not anymore, I wonder if you can dehydrate it? If anyone know’s, let me know. Thanks.

      1. Klara Avatar

        You can put it in the deepfreezer,and use it from there,but not dehydrate.

    3. Estela Avatar

      Tastes lemony and it’s delicious in salads!

    4. Rabia Avatar

      Wash carefully to rinse all the dirt or soil. Chop either with knife or use your hand to cut into small pieces. Add Greek yoghurt, salt, and it is a wonderful side dish. Check this picture!


    5. The Discoverer Avatar
      The Discoverer

      Yes, especially good in salads. No worries.

    6. Cynthia Scully Avatar

      Just toss it in your salad !

    7. Dan Richeson Avatar

      Add to that; eat the stems too? Preparations? Any ‘natural’ toxins, serving size, … , ?

      1. Enrique Carmona Avatar
        Enrique Carmona

        It contains oxalic acid, if there is urinary tract infection due to kidney stones, check with health provider.

    8. Hanneke de Vos Avatar
      Hanneke de Vos

      Yes you can definitely wat it raw

    9. Artemis Avatar

      Yes!It’s perfect in salads!

    10. Kathy Avatar

      Yeah, it’s lovely raw. But if you’re scavenging weeds in the community rather than around your own home, it’s probably a good idea to wash it really well first…

      1. Heather Avatar

        There are several patches of it around my neighbourhood… my dog pees on them. 🙁

    11. Deborah Avatar

      Absolutely delicious. You can make “cacik” – the Turkish version of the Greek “tzatziki” – using purslane instead of cucumber.

    12. Donna Putney Avatar
      Donna Putney

      It is delicious rw in a salad! The beautiful crunch is mouth- pleasing!

    13. Cathy Avatar

      Yes… it’s delicious raw. Make a salad with it…Add tomato, cucumber, onion, oil, lemon juice, salt.

    14. Brandy Avatar

      After we cleaned them we cooked with some jalapeño , onion and tomato . Really really good

    15. Deniese Avatar

      I have boiled it. I like the taste. And it’s free..

    16. Thalía zakos Avatar
      Thalía zakos

      Yes it’s ok to eat it raw I remember when I was growing up we always had it mix in the Greek salad or salad in its own with olive oil and vinegar dressing

  2. Julie Avatar

    Can this be mistaken for any other harmful plant? Just want to make sure before thinking what I have is edible!!

    1. Carol Avatar

      Not once you know it. There are some weeds that have a similar appearance at first glance, but their leaves are obviously different on inspection.

    2. Karri Avatar

      Yes! Spurge looks very similiar. The best way to identify spurge is to break off part of the stem. It will always release a white, milky sap. If you see white start to appear, DO NOT EAT IT!

    3. melanie Avatar

      this looks like a Jade plant

    4. Rain Adkins Avatar

      It’s fine to eat raw. I also cook it with the pasta when doing a simple pasta-and-red-sauce. But I like it best deep-fried, or fried fast and hot in olive oil, with or without garlic. Cooked that way, it tastes a lot like okra, but without the slipperiness.
      The tender stems are just as good as the leaves, Be sure to remove the woody parts–if a stem doesn’t snap fairly easily when you simultaneously bend and tug, that part’s too tough to cook.
      Because of the melatonin, which is a strong immune booster, people with autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis shouldn’t eat this several days in a row. Once or twice in a week, though, it should be fine if you don’t just gorge. (Which is tempting. 🙂 )
      Rain Adkins, herbalist and forager
      \ \ \ \ \ \

      1. DL Avatar

        Thanks, very helpful information. Can u recommend where to find and buy this plant?

      2. Barb Lucero Avatar
        Barb Lucero

        We use it in gumbo instead of okra

      3. Kelly Avatar

        Why not 8f you have Ra?

      4. melissa Avatar

        can you explain your reasoning behind this? I ask because I have autoimmune disease and take melatonin

    5. Estela Avatar

      Yes. There is a plant, spurge, that’s very similar. Has flatter leaves that are red on the underside and the stems have a white liquid in them. The leaves also look hairy! Purslane looks like a succulent.

      1. Jan Haldeman Avatar
        Jan Haldeman

        That one, Euphorbia supina, unfortunately has the common name Milk Purslane. Many if not most spurges are toxic. Poinsettias, though only mildly toxic, are a familiar member of the Spurge family Euphorbiaceae.

    6. Clayton Avatar

      Unlikely. I haven’t ever seen anything else similar in appearance.

    7. Anne Avatar

      Yes. The poisonous look-a-like has a small dot on each leaf.

    8. Sarah Avatar

      “a poisonous purslane look-a-like called ‘hairy-stemmed spurge’. One way to tell the difference is to snap the stem. If a milky-white substance comes out, don’t eat it. It’s spurge. http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/country-life/food/eating-purslane/

    9. Ron Avatar

      People keep talking about Spurge looking like Purslane. There are some key features to differentiate the plants. Spurge has a much smaller leaf than Purslane and the Spurge leaf is much thinner and kind of sticky. Another difference is spurge is often times red, but also can be green. Ants frequently nest in Spurge. The stems of the Spurge plant are pretty thin,usually like the size of thread, or a couple pieces of thread intertwined together. Purslane stems can get larger in diameter than a pencil. Spurge plants propagate very quickly due to the large number of tiny seeds they produce. Hope this helps.

  3. Steve Avatar

    Thanks for the tip! We’ll give it a “go”.

  4. Patti Avatar

    How do I prepare to eat it.

    1. Ellin Avatar

      google Purslane recipes – there are a zillion!

    2. Jinan Avatar

      We eat this delicious plant ,it’s perfect in salads if mixed with onion and tomato.use olive oil and any kind of sour.we usualy use pomegranate syrub and olive oil as a dressing.you can use this salad as a pie ,put it in closed dough and bake it.

    3. Rudy J. Avatar
      Rudy J.

      Shi Patti, we just use the smallest ones the most tender leaves. We rinse and pinch the leaves and tender stems and mix it with lettuce or any other greens. Tastes great! My mom says she boils it and uses it mixed with other steamed or boiled vegges. It really does taste great kicks up a boring salad works with any dressing.
      Let me know how it goes,
      Rudy J.

  5. Donna Stubbs Avatar
    Donna Stubbs

    In the Caribbean that grow plentiful , we weed it up .

    1. diane ballou Avatar
      diane ballou

      What does”weed it up” mean?

  6. Lori Thunderhorse Avatar
    Lori Thunderhorse

    I would like to see recipes or a cookbook

    1. Hope Avatar

      Awesome in mandarin orange salad. I stir fry it, put in soups, or on sandwiches

    2. Cynthia Scully Avatar
      Cynthia Scully

      Just toss it in your salad !

  7. Gerald Stubbs Avatar
    Gerald Stubbs

    Acting on your recommendation I stepped outside my house this evening and harvested some Purslane. I did not strip the leaves off the stalks but chopped it up into roughly two inch sections.

    Got some water onto a full boil and cooked it for about three minutes.

    We ate it with chicken breasts done in the oven with fresh herbs and cheese inside and some delicious old variety potatoes. The whole lot, except the purslane accompanied by a cream sauce with cheese incorporated in it.

    It was all delicious but the purslane was really good. It had a lovely firm bite yet dissolved in the mouth and a lovely flavour.

    Thank you for the tip.

    1. Kim Avatar

      Do you eat the stems to or just the leaves?

      1. Sammie Avatar

        They said that they ate both, ” did not remove leaves from stalks and cut into 2in sections”

  8. Karen Avatar

    Thank you for sharing

  9. J-Dawn Avatar

    I’ve got PLENTY. You can have all you want for just $20 as long as you come and get it and also pull the grass out of my garden while you’re at it.

  10. Craig Smith Avatar
    Craig Smith

    Our Farm here in Monroe NC has a bunch.. We consider it a weed mostly.. So much is too much!!

  11. Amelie Avatar

    Yes it can! The other plant is called hairy-stemmed spurge. But the stems are hairy and it has milky sap unlike this plant.

  12. Dennis Avatar

    How do you eat it and with what???? Must you cook it, can you eat it raw ???

  13. Vastin E Frietsch Avatar
    Vastin E Frietsch

    In spanish it is called Verdolage. It is edible. My wife mixes it in with scrambled eggs in the mornings and with hamburger dishes. I’ve eaten it for 37 years and it is good

  14. Elaine Avatar

    Thank you. Can’t wait to try it.

  15. Lisa Avatar

    I have tons of this. Gonna start selling it! LOL

  16. lp Avatar

    break the stem if clear good to eat if milky its a toxic cousin

  17. Clayton Avatar

    I got my son eating this from the drive way. I’ve started to plant it in pots out back. You can just pick the leaves off and eat them, or put them in stir fry. They’re quite nice to just eat.

  18. TJ Avatar

    Isn’t this called creeping Charlie?
    Come pulll all you want from my yard.
    It’s will save me from doing it myself!

    1. Cathy Avatar

      No, this is not Creeping Charlie.

  19. Huwayda Avatar

    Delicious in salads. In Lebanon it’s also mixed with onions and lemon juice and made into turnovers.

  20. Hanneke de Vos Avatar
    Hanneke de Vos

    Yes you can definitely wat it raw

  21. Frank Joy Avatar
    Frank Joy

    My back yard in south central Texas is suddenly overrun with this stuff. I’ve been pulling it up and trying to slow its takeover of my yard. Now I’ll start making salads!

  22. FDP Avatar

    Do you know if purslane is part of the collard green family? I am allergic to collard greens and once had a cold soup that had purslane in it and had same reaction to it as I do to collards

  23. Cassandra Avatar

    I love purslane. For those wondering about how to prepare it; the first thing of course it to rinse it with water. Then, pick the leaves off the stems and discard the stems. You can add the purslane leaves into green salads if you want.
    My favorite way to eat purslane is to toss it with raspberries and a little lemon juice. If I happen to have poppy seeds or slivered almonds I’ll add them in as well.

  24. Judy Avatar

    We had it recently in an upscale restaurant in Vancouver! Delicious! They put small amount of balsamic vinaigrette on a plate.. watermelon and feta cheese, thinly sliced pepper and the pursalne left on the stem.

  25. Zeynep Oztop Avatar
    Zeynep Oztop

    In Anatolia we usually eat it raw. If thee are thick stems,get rid of them. Wash them well. Cut them into one inch pieces. Cube the tomatoes. Add some grated cheese like feta. Make a salad sauce with fresh lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Mix them all. Easy!

  26. Katrina Stubbs Avatar
    Katrina Stubbs

    Just commenting because my last name is Stubbs too.

  27. kat Avatar

    interesting I think I have it growing out back. im checking in the morning. it would be great for tea to I would imagine.

  28. David Avatar

    Here’s tge recipe.

  29. Marya Avatar

    Eat it Raw, like salad

  30. Iris nesbit Avatar
    Iris nesbit

    Look alike plant that is poisonous. Could you teport that at same time..or are the plants not from same areas. Nice to know these things. Nit all mushrooms are safe thats why we buy ours at the store. Pubic service would be to protect.

  31. Vonne Avatar

    Oh I’ve seen this growing as a weed in my garden! Never knew. Going to give it a go ..

  32. Adam Avatar

    In my younger days we used to put in salads just like parsley.

  33. Theresa Avatar

    What if you have put down weed killer because you didn’t know it was good for you. Can you still eat it?

    1. Donna Avatar

      That’s my question. I have sprayed and it keeps coming back.

    2. Angelina Avatar

      I wouldn’t. Wait until new ones crop up.

  34. Deb Avatar

    How or where can a I find a market to sell it, I have tons

  35. Charlotte Elizabeth Lynch Avatar
    Charlotte Elizabeth Lynch

    Does it have little flowers on it either yellow or bright pink? I’ve seen this vining in the sand dunes on the beach

  36. Tommie Stuart Avatar
    Tommie Stuart

    Thanks for the tip! It’s all over my yard!

  37. Pepa Petrova Avatar
    Pepa Petrova

    Chicken adore it. My friends say it is very, very useful.

    1. Bobbie Jo Avatar
      Bobbie Jo

      Yes!! We call it chick weed bc it’s one of the 1st plants the hens teach chicks to eat..never thought to try it myself but I will now

  38. Anne Avatar

    Are the small yellow flowers also edible?

  39. Jojo Avatar

    We in south east asia has been eating this for millenia. Part of our traditional dishes.

  40. Connie Avatar

    My yard is full of it.

  41. Julie Avatar

    Anyone put it in smoothies?

  42. Sk Avatar

    Who ghandi?

  43. Bev Avatar

    I thought it was a sedum plant.

  44. Michelle h Avatar
    Michelle h

    How would you prepare this for medicinal use?

  45. Susan Keating Avatar
    Susan Keating

    Are there copy cats that can be dangerous to eat, in case I find one that looks like this,but isn’t?

  46. Angelina Avatar

    I must say this, there is another plant that looks like purslane except is has dots on the leaves and the leaves grow in a different pattern. Just be aware, this look alike is poisonous.