PURSLANE, the vernacular equivalent of the botanical genus Portulaca. The species are fleshy annuals of small dimensions, with prostrate stems and entire leaves ; the flowers are small and inconspicuous, or in some species brilliantly coloured, regular, with two sepals, five petals, seven to twenty stamens, an inferior ovary, with a style divided into from three to eight branches and ripening into a pod which opens by a transverse chink. P. oleracea is a native of India, which has been introduced into Europe as a salad plant, and in some countries has spread to such an extent as to become a noxious weed. This is the case in certain parts of the United States, where the evil qualities of " pussly " have become proverbial. Like many other succulent plants, its juice is cooling and is used in tropical countries as a refrigerant in fever, while the bruised leaves are employed as an application in cases of local inflammation. Some of the species, such as P. grandiflora and its varieties, are grown in gardens on rock-work owing to the great beauty and deep colouring of their flowers, the short duration of individual blossoms being compensated for by the abundance with which they are produced.