Small blossoms are open only for a day. Portulaca oleracea, (poor-two-LAY-ka oh-ler-AY-see-a) whose name means “milk-bearing cultivated plant” or “little door cultivated plant” is a native of India and the Middle East, but is naturalized throughout the world. Sediment deposits in Canada strongly suggest it came to North American before Columbus, either with Leif Erickson and raiding party, or earlier with humans from Asia to Alaska. It is found as early as 7th century BC in Greece, and Greek texts from the fourth century BC say it’s a plant no respectable Greek kitchen garden, or medicine cabinet, is without. Theophratus called it “andrákhne” — which might mean “man w#$d” (W#$d is now a bad word in the USA, our listing can be flagged)… any ancient Greek experts can correct me — and said April was the best time to plant it. Slightly sour and mucilaginous — that’s where “milk-bearing” comes in — purslane can be used in salad to soups to omelets. The stems can be pickled.
Purslane seeds take seven to 10 days to germinate between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can sow seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep directly in the garden. Spring is the best time to plant purslane from seed. In areas with even mild frost in winter, wait until the last frost date has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 70 F before planting. In mild, frost-free climates, you can plant in late winter as long as the soil temperature is high enough for germination to occur.