Desert Horse Purslane
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Desert Horse Purslane
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Desert Horse Purslane, Giant pigweed, Horse-Purslane • Bengali: Gadabani, Godabani, Kulphasag, Swetpunarnova • Gujarati: સટોડો Satodo • Hindi: Sabuni, Salsabuni, Svetsabuni, Vishakhapara • Kannada: Muchchugoni, Bili komme • Malayalam: Talutama, tavilama • Marathi: Pundhari-ghentuli • Nepali: Seto punarnava • Oriya: Luduru sag • Sanskrit: Chiratika, Dhanapatra, Dirghapatrika • Tamil: Sharunnai, Shavalai, Charu velai • Telugu: Ambatimadu, Galijeru, Ghelijehru
Botanical name: Trianthema portulacastrum    Family: Aizoaceae (Ice plant family)
Synonyms: Trianthema monogynum, Trianthema procumbens, Portulaca axilliflora

Desert Horse Purslane is a weed found throughout the tropical and subtropical countries. It occurs in wastelands, roadsides, lawns, gardens, cultivated crops, and in paddy fields if the water supply is low. Stems are prostrate or rising, somewhat succulent, up to 50 cm long or more, smooth or sparsely velvety. Leaves are flat, elliptic to obovate or spade-shaped, 1-2 cm long, 0.4-2 cm wide, margins entire, tip blunt, base rounded to wedge-shaped. Leaf stalks are 0.5-2.5 cm long, expanded into a sheath joined with opposing leaf base to form a cup. Pink flowers are borne solitary, stalkless, largely hidden in leaf axils. Petals (perianth lobes) are linear to narrowly deltate, 4-5 mm long, inner surface pink or white, sparsely velvety externally; ovary cylindrical; style about 2 mm long.
Medicinal uses: The roots are used to relieve obstructions of the liver, and to relieve asthma and amenorrhoea. A decoction of the powdered root is taken to treat venereal discharge. The leaves are used in the treatment of oedema, jaundice, strangury and dropsy. The old leaves are used in a treatment against gonorrhoea. The fleshy nature of the leaves makes them suitable for use as a wound-dressing or poultice.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in Vadodara, Gujarat & Delhi.

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