Cultivating Portulaca Grandiflora: A Comprehensive Guide

Portulaca grandiflora, a perennial herb from the Lamiaceae family, is widespread and thrives in moist conditions.

The entire plant is used in traditional medicine, known for its cooling blood detoxification, swelling reduction, and damp-heat clearing effects. This perennial, erect herb ranges from 15 to 50 centimeters in height and has few or no branches.

Its square stems are hairless, and the leaves are triangular ovate or ovate-lanceolate, measuring 1 to 3 centimeters in length and 0.5 to 1.3 centimeters in width, with few blunt teeth on the edges.

Portulaca grandiflora

The leaves may be hairless or have short hairs along the veins on the back; the petioles are 1 to 3 millimeters long. At each node, two flowers form a one-sided raceme; the bracts are leaf-like and decrease in size, hairy along the veins.

The calyx is 2 to 3 millimeters long; the corolla is purple-blue, 9 to 13.8 millimeters in length, densely covered with soft hair on the outside; there are two pairs of stamens that do not protrude out of the corolla; the style ends in two splits.

The small nuts are black with tiny tubercular protrusions. The flowering period is from May to October, and fruiting from June to November.

I. Morphological Characteristics

Portulaca grandiflora

This perennial, erect herb stands 15 to 50 centimeters tall, with few or no branches. The stems are square and hairless.

Leaves are triangular ovate or ovate-lanceolate, with few blunt teeth along the margins and may be hairless or have short hairs on the veins on the back; the petioles range from 1 to 3 millimeters long.

Each node bears two flowers forming a one-sided raceme; bracts are leaf-like, gradually decreasing in size, with hairy veins; the calyx is about 2 to 3 millimeters in length; the corolla is purple-blue, measuring 9 to 13.8 millimeters in length, with a soft hairy exterior; there are two pairs of stamens that stay within the corolla; the style is bifurcated at the top.

The small nuts bear tiny tubercular protrusions on the surface and are black. The flowering season extends from May to October, and the plant bears fruit from June to November.

The whole plant is used medicinally, known for its heat-clearing, detoxifying, dispersion of clots, and pain-relieving properties.

It is used to treat various conditions including hematemesis, blood in the stool, dysentery, carbuncles, throat pain, lung abscess, sores, epidemic diseases, and snakebites. It is also used as an alternative to Herba Leonuri in treating gynecological diseases.

Portulaca grandiflora, a succulent annual from the Portulacaceae family, is native to Brazil. Its clusters of top-growing small flowers with overlapping petals are striking in both color and shape.

The flowers bloom only when exposed to sunlight, earning it the nicknames “Sun Plant” and “Noon Flower.”

Its stems are incredibly water-retentive; if uprooted or cut and left in the sun, they appear wilted, yet miraculously revive when replanted in moist soil. This resilience has led to its moniker “the undying plant.”

The plant reaches 15 to 20 centimeters in height, with prostrate or obliquely growing stems and fleshy, cylindrical, pointed leaves.

The flowers come in a variety of vibrant colors including deep red, purple-red, brown-red, deep yellow, pale yellow, and white, as well as shades of icy blue and white with red spots.

The stems and leaves have a purple-red tint, adding to its ornamental appeal. Recent cultivars can flower throughout the day, unaffected by low light, and are drought-resistant, further enhancing their decorative value.

Portulaca grandiflora is robust and easy to cultivate. It thrives in full sunlight, and shade may hinder its flowering. Preferring fertile, sandy loam, it tolerates poor soil and drought but not waterlogging or cold.

Propagation is primarily by seed, sown in March or April; seedlings emerge within 7 days, and flowers can be seen after approximately 60 days. Its peak blooming period is from July to September.

With its compact height of around 15 centimeters and dense, vibrant blooms, it is excellent for decorating lawns, slopes, and roadside areas. It’s also suitable for planting at the edges of flower beds and landscapes.

When potted, it makes a charming display on balconies, windowsills, corridors, entrances, pool sides, and courtyards. Letting some of its stems and flowers hang around the pot creates a unique decorative effect.

Medicinally, Portulaca grandiflora is considered cold in nature with a sour taste. It contains a variety of vitamins, trace elements, and amino acids.

It is recognized for its blood-cooling and detoxifying properties, its ability to disperse blood stasis and relieve pain, reduce swelling, and clear heat to benefit damp conditions.

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