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Pink Purslane (Claytonia sibirica) Identification Guide

Pink Purslane / All Year Round / Edible

A common non-native plant. It has a earthy almost beetroot like flavour and can be eaten raw or cooked.


Other Common Names

Winter Purslane, Siberian Spring Beauty


Botanical Name

Claytonia sibirica


Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Caryophyllales

Family – Montiaceae


Physical Characteristics for Pink Purslane

Leaves

The plant has a mixture of flower and basal leaves. The flower leaves are deep green, round and grow in opposite pairs, they have no real stem. The basal leaves are almost spoon shaped, veined again deep green, round and glossy. Both leaves are around 5-10cm in diameter.

Salicyna, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Flowers

The flowers are pale pink to white in colour with pink to purple stripes running along their length. They have 5 petals and each petal has a deep split at the top.

USFWS – Pacific Region, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Habitat

Most often it’s found in woodlands on damp ground.


Known Hazards

None known


Could be Confused with…

It could be confused with Chickweed (Stellaria media) but this is also edible.

Red Campion (Silene dioica) can also look similar but this doesn’t have rounded leaves and tastes of soap.


Edible Uses

The leaves have a lovely flavour and are very succulent, when young can be added to salads, when they get older and tougher they can be cooked as a leafy green. They are probably at their best in winter and spring when there’s not much else about.


Notes on Herbal Uses

The plant is a mild diuretic and has been used as a poultice for cuts and sores, its juice can be used as a treatment for sore eyes, and dandruff.

It’s a rich source of potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as Omega oils that are typically found in fish. In fact it’s been shown to be the richest vegetable source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid.


Extra notes from the Foragers

It was a common vegetable of the Roman Empire. The origin of purslane is not certain, but existence of this plant is reported about 4,000 years ago. It was introduced to the UK in the 1800’s.


Resources

https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/pink-purslane

https://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/Flowers/P/Purslane(Pink)/Purslane(Pink).htm

http://www.seasonalwildflowers.com/pink-purslane.html

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