The Portulacaceae are succulent herbs or infrequently soft shrubs comprising about 20 genera and 500 species further characterized by the presence of betalains and p-plastids. The leaves are entire, alternate or opposite, usually fleshy, and usually with scarious or hairlike stipules. The flowers are bisexual and have what appears to be a differentiated perianth consisting of 2 distinct or basally connate sepals and mostly 4-6 distinct or basally connate petals. The stamens and petals are isomerous, opposite, and sometimes adnate or the stamens may number 2-4 times as many as the petals. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 2-3 carpels with a 2-5 branched style and a superior or half inferior ovary that has a single locule containing 1-many basal ovules. The fruit is usually a circumscissile or loculicidal capsule.
Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.
|Calandrinia ciliata, red maids. Note 2 sepals, five petals, and 10 stamens.|
|Claytonia perfoliata, miner's lettuce. This species shows the stamens opposite the petals, 3-branched style, and 2 sepals.|
||Claytonia siberica, candy flower, Silver Falls, OR, 2002.|
|Claytonia sp. Notice 2 sepals, five petals with opposite stamens and a three branched style.|
|Lewisia cotyledon, Cliff Maids, Glide Wildflower Show, OR, 2004.|
|Portulaca oleracea, purslane. In the lower photo the brownish circumscissile capsules in the center have dehisced, exposing the single locule and basal placenta. One of them still contains several black seeds. Perched on the leaf at the lower right is the upper part or lid of a capsule with the persistent sepals still attached.|
|Portulaca oleracea cv. This cultivar has more stamens and also more style branches than is typical for the family.|
|Portulaca pilosa, note the stipular hairs.|
|Portulaca villosa, 'ihi. This is one of a few native Hawaiian species of the genus.|
|Talinum triangulare, Portulacaceae, talinum. An herb from the West Indies grown for greens.|
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