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Desert Horsepurslane
Trianthema portulacastrum
About Desert Horsepurslane (Trianthema portulacastrum) 0 Nurseries Carry This Plant Trianthema portulacastrum is a species of flowering plant in the ice plant family known by the common names desert horsepurslane, black pigweed, and giant pigweed. It is native to areas of several continents, including Africa and North and South America, and present as an introduced species in many other areas. It grows in a wide variety of habitat types and it can easily take hold in disturbed areas and cultivated land as a weed. It is an annual herb forming a prostrate mat or clump with stems up to a meter long. It is green to red in color, hairless except for small lines of hairs near the leaves, and fleshy. The leaves have small round or oval blades up to 4 centimeters long borne on short petioles. Solitary flowers occur in leaf axils. The flower lacks petals but has purple, petallike sepals. The fruit is a curved, cylindrical capsule emerging from the stem. It is up to half a centimeter long and has two erect, pointed wings on top, where the capsule opens. Seed dispersal occurs in a number of ways. One seed may be carried on the detached cap of the fruit, which floats on water. Other seeds may fall out of the remaining part of the fruit or remain on the plant after it dies and withers, resprouting the following season.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Annual herb

Flower Color
Flower Color

Wildlife Supported

Butterflies & moths hosted ( 1 confirmed , 1 likely * ) SHOW ALL

Landscaping Information
Natural Setting
Annual Precipitation: 2.7" - 11.9", Summer Precipitation: 0.15" - 1.55", Coldest Month: 44.9" - 60.1", Hottest Month: 74.1" - 89.6", Humidity: 1.58" - 40.74", Elevation: -192" - 3991"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Black Pigweed, Desert Horse-purslane, Giant Pigweed, Horse Purslane

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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