mardi 25 août 2009

Portulaca oleracea, the purslane 1

is the purslane a prayer plant?

Yes, I work night and day to document the Urban Flora. Well... some nights anyway! The purslane is a fairly common inhabitant of sidewalks, curiously forming some rather big colonies on certain street blocks then absent on a few neighbouring ones. It is classified as “one of the ten most noxious weeds worldwide”. Before running away let’s learn a bit more about that most interesting “pest”, one of the world’s most interesting weed.

Three years in a row, while researching for my book, I tried to find a specimen of it with some flowers to take a photograph. But there was no way to manage that! I did see the flowers on the plant but that was a long time ago... And I don’t remember the circumstances: at what time in the season or the day, what weather, etc. So I would be going out early in the morning, or at noon, or on a cloudy day, or when high winds were blowing or even when rain was making my quest funnier... Still no flowers to be seen!

So I thought “maybe they open at night”... But no! they do not... Perhaps as a minimal reward to my dedication I managed to observe that the leaves fold against the stems when the sun is down... I found no reference to that fact in the litterature... interesting surely... but when do they flower!?

Well this will turn into an fascinating enquiry and will have us travel through history and across oceans... We might even get some flowers shots!

For Rosemary the Toronto blogger: Toronto Gardening

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