Saturday, June 6, 2020

Little Hogweed - Portulaca oleracea

Little hogweed (Portulaca oleracea) is often encountered as a lawn weed, though it is native to Florida and occurs statewide - mostly in disturbed and ruderal habitats.  It also occurs across every US state in the lower 48 and in the southern tier of Canadian provinces. Little hogweed is a member of a popular genus for home gardeners, Portulaca, and it shares some of the same attributes as the popular moss rose.
Little hogweed is an annual. Like its other relatives here in Florida, it creeps across the ground and eventually forms a mass about 12-18 inches in circumference. The stems and foliage are succulent. While the stems can be reddish in color, the thick oval leaves are a dull bluish green.  Each leaf is about 1/4 - 1/2 inch in length.
Flowering can occur in most months before the plant declines in late fall. Unlike many in this genus, the flowers are a bright canary yellow in color. Each is about 1/4-1/3 inch in diameter.  They are of some interest to small bees.
Little hogweed tends to show up on its own in all of the landscapes I've lived at since moving to Florida more than 30 years ago. I find it to be attractive and inoffensive so I leave it where it decides to appear. If left alone, it will produce a great many seeds and spread over time. 

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