Portulaca pilosa

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Portulaca pilosa


Annual herb, succulent; stems ascending or prostrate, to 20-30 cm long, glabrous, but usually with conspicuous nodal tufts of 3-7 mm long, white hairs. Leaves alternate, sessile or subsessile; blade terete, somewhat flattened, linear, linear- or oblong-lanceolate, 5-16(-27) x 1-4 mm, glabrous. Inflorescence of terminal, solitary or clustered, sessile flowers, surrounded by long brownish or whitish hairs and an involucre of 6-10 leaves. Sepals somewhat unequal in size and shape, triangular-ovate to ovate, 2-5 mm long, not keeled, acute, apiculate; petals rose-purple, reddish or purple-pink, obovate, oblong-obovate, or broadly ovate, 3-6 x 2.5-4.5(-6) mm, sometimes retuse; stamens 15-37, filaments crimson, 2-2.5 mm long; style 2-2.5 mm long, stigmas 3-6. Fruit ovoid or subglobose, to 7 x 2.5-4.3 mm, rich yellowish-brown and glossy above, circumscissile at about middle; seeds lenticular-reniform, 0.5-0.7 mm wide, black, dull or shining, minutely tuberculate.


French Guiana present, Guyana present, New World tropics present, Southern United States present
Southern United States and New World tropics; 21 specimens examined, all from Guyana and French Guiana (GU: 9; FG: 12).


Sometimes cultivated in Suriname gardens (Ostendorf, 1962).


The characteristic "pilose" appearance of the stems is due to the very long, profusely fimbriate stipules at the nodes, which often curl and overlap to a profound degree.
K. von Poellnitz (), with some uncertainty, synonymized the yellow-flowered P. rubricaulis Kunth into P. pilosa L., whereas P. rubricaulis was accepted as a good species by Legrand (1962), who cited a Sagot specimen from French Guiana; the specimen has not been seen by the present authors, who would defer acceptance of the species for the Guianas until a modern revision of the genus is available.
Similarly questionable is a French Guiana Portulaca specimen (Broadway 962, US) determined by Legrand as P. teretifolia Kunth and having tuberculate seeds (rather than non-tuberculate as stated in his own 1962 species description), while other specimens [Broadway 105 (US) and Broadway 962 (US)] supposedly P. teretifolia, have stems that closely resemble those of P. pilosa.