Monday, September 16, 2013


If you live among the limestone hills of Austin you might have noticed this little native make its appearance in September.

It is shaggy portulaca, Portulaca pilosa, a low growing trailing succulent. It is an annual but the seeds, which are formed in cup-shaped capsules, overwinter and seem to spread readily. I first noticed it growing in the decomposed granite out front. The flower only opens in full sun but then that isn't a problem here in Texas!
I later noticed the plant growing in one of the vegetable beds and mistook it for the much larger flowered portulaca I have. The leaves are similar but somewhat narrower.

Large flowering Mexican portulaca.
 I thought it would do well overhanging the hayrack planter on the potting shed wall, in which I had planted feather grasses following removal of the spring planting. Unfortunately the drip system failed in our long absence and the feather grasses died. Not so this little creeping plant. When watering was restored the plant came to life and is now in full bloom.

On this west facing wall, where temperatures are hot enough to fry an egg, I am happy that this little plant likes its new home. I am thinking that it would also make a nice rock garden addition.


  1. Beautiful plant!! I love it when natives are good enough to shine in the garden!

  2. There always seems to be plants that can handle the worst conditions. Love the color of that beauty.

  3. Wow! It looks similar to non-native ice plant. Seems that it likes similar habitats, too. Good alternative.

  4. Wow! It looks similar and seems to like the same environments as non- native ice plant. Good alternative!

  5. Hmm, I have something that looks like this that showed up in the curb strip granite a couple of months ago, but it's behaving more like a dense ground cover about 16inches across. Really lovely! I think you may have solved my mystery.

    1. I suspect this is the same plant. It does make a dense ground cover.

  6. The best kind of plants ... those that bounce back after no water and absence ... makes you feel like they're happy to see you.

  7. What a pretty plant! I love the way the leaves form petals that set off the flowers drawing more attention to them. Have you noticed any interested birds nibbling on this plant? I've been looking for some succulents that the birds don't like.