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Origin and Habitat: Portulaca amilis is a South American species of wide distribution, found in southern part of Amazon basin, southward across Brazil to N-W Paraguay and nearby areas of N.W Argentina. Naturalised in southeastern United States.
Altitude range: 0–200 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology It grows in granitic outcrops and sandy soils at the junction of the coastal plain and the piedmont areas mostly in open disturbed habitats and fields in populated areas, where it has exhibited a weedy nature. It has also became a turfgrass weed found in lawns and golf courses.
- Portulaca amilis Speg.
Portulaca amilis Speg.
Anales Soc. Ci. Argent. 92: 104, pl. 6 1921
- Portulaca amilis Speg.
- Portulaca amilis var. minensis D.Legrand
- Portulaca amilis var. rosengurttii D.Legrand
- Portulaca pilosa var. paraguayensis Hauman & Irigoyen
- Portulaca rubricaulis J.F.Macbr.
Portulaca amilis var. pilgeri (Poelln.) D.Legrand
Comun. Bot. Mus. Hist. Nat. Montevideo 2(27): 17–18 1953.
ENGLISH: Paraguayan Purslane, Broadleaf Pink Purslane
Description: Paraguayan purslane (Portulaca amilis) is a prostrate or sub-erect, summer, annual herb that can reach 15-20 cm in height and spreads along the ground to form dense mats. It reproduces aggressively by seeds and has become a weed in many tropical countries. Pink to pink-purple showy flowers are produced in terminal heads from midsummer into early autumn. Recently, a large flowered cultivar labeled “Portulaca amilis cv. Puerto Rican Hot Pink” has became common as an ornamental in garden and appears to be derived from the Paraguayan purslane.
Branches: Wiry, succulent, 5–25 cm long with dense trichomes at nodes and in inflorescence.
Leaves: Thick, flat, fleshy, arranged alternately on the stem, usually 5-30 cm long, 2-15 mm wide, oblanceolate, spatulate or broadly oblong, slightly pointed or submucronate at the tip. Abundant brownish to white hairs are present in leaf axils.
Inflorescences: Terminal, congested and surrounded by 6-8(-9) involucre-like leaves.
Flowers: Bright pink to pink-purple, five petaled, 5-20 mm in diameter and showy. Sepals broadly triangular-ovate, 7–10 mm long, 4–8 mm wide, apiculate-cucullate; Petals pink to purple (or yellow, var. rosengurttii), obovate, to 10 mm long. Stamens 15-45. Stigmas 7-10 mm.
Blooming season: The plant blooms in late spring and early fall.
Fruits: Ovoid, 2-5.5 mm in diameter, glossy yellowish, dehiscent at apex or slightly below.
Seeds: Glossy black, round, flattened, 0.4 - 0.6 mm, obscurely tuberculate and stellulate or almost smooth.
Chromosome number: 2n = 18 (36).
Related species: It is related to Portulaca pilosa. Portulaca pilgeri does probably not belong here and has been described with a globose root tuber.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Portulaca amilis group
- Portulaca amilis Speg.: is a prostrate annual herb 15-20 cm tall and spreading along the ground. Pink to pink-purple flowers are produced from midsummer into early autumn. Distribution: Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina:
- Portulaca amilis var. pilgeri (Poelln.) D.Legrand
- Portulaca amilis var. rosengurttii D.Legrand: has yellow flowers.
- Portulaca amilis cv. Puerto Rican Hot Pink: has very showy single neon pink blooms. A hot pink blush surrounds the yellow centre.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer Science & Business Media, 2002
2) L. B. McCarty “Color Atlas of Turfgrass Weeds” John Wiley & Sons, 15/Jan/2001
3) Walter S. Judd, Richard P. Wunderlin “First report of Portulaca amilis (Portulacaceae) in the United States.” SIDA, Contributions to Botany Vol. 9, No. 2, NOVEMBER 1981
4) Flora of North America “1 Portulaca amilis Spegazzini, Anales Soc. Ci. Argent. 92: 104, plate 6. 1921.” FNA Vol. 4 Page 496, 497, 498 <http://www.efloras.org> Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
Cultivation and Propagation: Portulaca amilis is a weed occasionally grown in temperate climates as an ornamental plant for annual bedding or as a container plant. It requires ample sunlight and well-drained soils. It requires almost no attention and spreads itself very easily. Although it survives difficult conditions, plants will produce more lush growth and flowers when provided sufficient moisture and rich soils. In places with old architecture it can grow between the stones of the road or sidewalk.
Soils: it grows well in poor, sandy or gravelly soils. The soil must be very well-drained.
Exposure: Needs full sun to flower.
Waterings: Drought tolerant, but flowers best with regular watering. Don't water with overhead irrigation, which can damage the flowers.
Hardiness: Plant seeds or set out plants after all danger of frost has passed.
Pests and diseases: No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids. Stem or root rots can be a problem in wet soils.
Garden Uses: Good for poor dry soils where many other plants struggle. Edging or ground cover for beds, rock gardens or along walks. Containers, hanging baskets. Sprawl over stone walls.
Propagation: Sow seed directly in the garden after last frost date, or start indoors 6-8 weeks earlier. Set out seedlings and purchased plants at last frost date. Plants may self-seed. Seeds are as tiny , so mix them with sand before sowing to make them easier to scatter. Seeds germination period, requires one to two weeks. In warm climates, it may self-seed. Established plants can also be propagated by cuttings.
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