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This guy has been growing like gang busters in a newly planted bed of ground covering sedums. It's actually kind of a nice ground cover but based on its rate of spread and the fact that I didn't plant it I'm thinking of yanking it all up.

It has oblong, almost jade-like leaves; grows from a ground hugging stem that sprouts radially from a rooted base. No flowers yet, but it spreads aggressively both in the garden and pavement cracks. Seems to prefer dry areas.

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This is Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Identifying characteristics are the ground-hugging branched stems that you mentioned, and in the photos, the paddle-shaped leaves in pairs along the stems, with the leaves clumped closer together at the ends of the stems.

It's an annual weed that grows extremely quickly once hot weather arrives. When the flowers arrive, they'll be tiny and pale yellow in color.

It responds well to weedkillers such as RoundUp, but I usually find it in my vegetable beds so I tend to control it by hand using a hoe to cut the stems just below ground level. I also find it fairly easy to pull by hand if the ground is wet -- just grab the entire plant underneath the branching stems and pull straight up. It can re-root itself if you leave pieces lying around so be sure to remove them.

(It can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable, but personally I don't like the taste.)

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    Works as a great compost heap filler. Just get it out before it seeds or the leaves start to show tobacco mosaic. – Fiasco Labs Jul 16 '13 at 2:05
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    So, we eat it in salad. I's an essential ingredient for the Arab salad Fattoush. If you aren't sure you like the taste, you can add it in small amounts - like you'd add herbs to a salad for flavoring. It is delicious that way! If you have a salad every day with dinner, a patch of Purslane will disappear rather quickly. – michelle Jul 16 '13 at 12:48
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    I am going to have to give that a try. Add in some nasturtium for color and i can get a mini salad out of my flower beds. :) – dkackman Jul 16 '13 at 13:19
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    Also good sauteed with a little shallot or garlic and some olive oil. – BRM Jul 16 '13 at 14:08
  • I eat them as I weed them in the garden, unless of course there are like truck-loads, then it's the compost pile. – J. Musser Jul 4 '14 at 18:40
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Toxic Purslane

Needed a quick patch, tall rye was highly suggested, bought Pennington Tall Rye, got over run with Purslane. I have a pet friendly yard, now it's ruined!

Purslane contains soluble calcium oxalates, which are poisonous to cats, dogs and horses, according to the ASPCA. Cats who ingest part of the plant may drool, vomit, or show other signs of digestive stress such as diarrhea or bloody urine. Purslane toxic to cats and dogs

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