Sunday, May 07, 2006

down by the river

this pretty little flower is pink purslane. I am not sure why it is called Purslane (? french porcelaine, latin portulaca) for shiny stems? Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...


The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) used portulaca to designate common purslane and eventually Linneaus used it as the name of the genus. The generic name is from Latin and alludes to the purging qualities of some species (Britton and Brown 1898). However, it took centuries before the name purslane became the standard English name for the plant. About 1387, portulaca was referred to as purcelan in Sinonoma Bartholomei, a 14th-century manuscript encountered in the Library of Pembroke College, Oxford. (This glossary was reprinted as Anecdota Oxoniensia in 1882.) Over the ensuing centuries, the spelling and pronunciation took on many forms: purcelan, purcelane, purselaine, pesseline, purselyn, andyurselan. Finally, in 1857, Asa Gray, in his First Lesson in Botany and Vegetable Physiology, wrote, "Sometimes the embryo is coiled around the outside, in the form of a ring, as in purslane." The modern spelling had entered the English language (Simpson and Weiner 1989). The family name Portulacaceae was established by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836) in 1789 (Brummitt 1992). Linneaus described the genus Portulaca in Species Plantarum, 1753. The specific epithet oleracea also is from Latin and means "of cultivation" or " suit-able for food" (Gledhill 1985).


spot said...

this is a very knowledgeable comment. With your permission I will include it in my life's work on the flora and fauna of the Tamar valley.

love Spot

Anonymous said...

if this interests you try looking at the rest of the article:

Anonymous said...

sorry for some reason it keeps chopping the end off- i'll try again: