from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A trailing plant (Portulaca oleracea) native to Eurasia, having small yellow flowers, reddish stems, and fleshy obovate leaves that can be cooked as a vegetable or used in salads.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A herbaceous plant, Portulaca oleracea, widely distributed through warm and temperate climates.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Ludwigia palustris.
  • noun An American aquatic or sometimes terrestrial herb, Didiplis linearis, of the Lythrarieæ, with opposite linear leaves and very small greenish flowers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) An annual plant (Portulaca oleracea), with fleshy, succulent, obovate leaves, sometimes used as a pot herb and for salads, garnishing, and pickling.
  • noun the Portulaca grandiflora. See Portulaca.
  • noun a South African shrub (Portulacaria Afra) with many small opposite fleshy obovate leaves.
  • noun a seashore plant (Arenaria peploides) with crowded opposite fleshy leaves.
  • noun an aquatic plant (Ludwiqia palustris) but slightly resembling purslane.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman *purcelane, alteration of Latin portulāca, porcilāca; see portulaca.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French porcelaine, probably an alteration of Latin porcillaca to assimilate with porcelaine ‘porcelain’.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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