por·​tu·​laca ˌpȯr-chə-ˈla-kə How to pronounce portulaca (audio)
: any of a genus (Portulaca) of chiefly tropical succulent herbs of the purslane family
especially : a widely cultivated South American plant (P. grandiflora) with showy flowers and small conical leaves

Examples of portulaca in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Varieties that thrive in heat, such as geraniums, vinca, marigolds, salvia, portulaca and others, are just waiting for the heat to kick in. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 1 July 2023 Varieties to try: Orange Smoothie, Wee-B-Little SHOP NOW 2 Moss Rose These tough low-growing succulents, also called portulaca, tolerate heat and drought. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, 9 June 2023 Flowers to start from seed: Dahlia, schizanthus, nigella, phlox, portulaca, nemesia, marigold and nasturtiums. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Apr. 2023 Flowers to start from seed: Dahlia, shizanthus, nigella, phlox, portulaca, nemisa, marigold and nasturtiums. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Apr. 2020 Among the ingredients, portulaca pilosa extract and palmitoyl tripeptide-38 help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and protect from environmental stressors. Alix Strauss, New York Times, 4 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'portulaca.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin, purslane, from portula, diminutive of porta gate; from the lid of its capsule — more at port

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of portulaca was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near portulaca

Cite this Entry

“Portulaca.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portulaca. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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