Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A trailing Asian weed (Portulaca oleracea) having small yellow flowers, reddish stems, and fleshy obovate leaves that are sometimes cooked as a vegetable or used in salads.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A widely-grown edible plant, Portulaca oleracea in the family Portulacaceae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An annual plant (Portulaca oleracea), with fleshy, succulent, obovate leaves, sometimes used as a pot herb and for salads, garnishing, and pickling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A herbaceous plant, Portulaca oleracea, widely distributed through warm and temperate climates.
  • n. In America, Sesuvium Portulacastrum, of the warmer Atlantic shores and the saline or alkaline valleys of the southwestern United States, a prostrate fleshy plant, forming mats sometimes 6 feet broad; also, S. pentandrum, sometimes erect, reaching north to New Jersey.
  • n. Ludwigia palustris.
  • n. An American aquatic or sometimes terrestrial herb, Didiplis linearis, of the Lythrarieæ, with opposite linear leaves and very small greenish flowers.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a plant of the family Portulacaceae having fleshy succulent obovate leaves often grown as a potherb or salad herb; a weed in some areas

Etymologies

Middle English, from Anglo-Norman *purcelane, alteration of Latin portulāca, porcilāca; see portulaca.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French porcelaine, probably an alteration of Latin porcillaca to assimilate with porcelaine ‘porcelain’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • That's great Monbiot! 21 vegetables freely available to Albion's wintertime gourmands and all but two or three are basically leaves.

    n.b. you forgot nettles and grass.

    February 20, 2008

  • Wow. And because of some weird digestive thing, I can't eat a single one of those, except onions. I love the words though!

    February 19, 2008

  • "In her book How to Eat, the celebrity chef Nigella Lawson dismisses concerns about long-distance transport thus:
    'If you live in the Tuscan hills, you may find different lovely things to eat every month of the year, but for us it would mean having to subsist half the time on a diet of tubers and cabbage, so why shouldn't we be grateful that we live in the age of jet transport and extensive culinary imports? More smug guff is spoken on this subject than almost anything else.'
    Lawson's requirement for asparagus in October plainly takes precedence over other people's requirement for survival. But she also betrays a limited imagination. Rocket, lamb's lettuce, purslane, winter cos, land cress, kale, leeks, chicory, pak choi, choi sum, mizuna, komatsuna, mooli, winter savory, coriander, parsley, chervil, spring onions, spinach, sorrel and chard will grow through the winter in the United Kingdom. Some need cold frames or cloches to protect them from the lowest temperatures, but none requires a heated greenhouse."
    - 'Heat', George Monbiot.

    February 19, 2008