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Family: Portulacaceae

Scientific name: Portulaca quadrifida

Authority: L.

Synonym: Meridiana quadrifida (L.) Poir.

Zulu names: amalenjane, ilanjane, umalenjane, umahenyane, uphunyu, ushisizwe, usompungane

Other names: pusley, wild purslane, chicken weed, single‑flowered purslane, small‑leaved purslane, 10 o’clock plant, lord of the rubbish heap

Plant description: P. quadrifida is an annual perennial herb with opposite leaves without a petiole, fleshy stem, and solitary yellow flowers, and capsule fruits with many dull grey seeds. The herb forms a mat in sandy soils to prevent soil erosion. 


  • The leaves are cooked and eaten as food.
  • The plant is used as a sedative to treat headaches.
  • This plant is used to treat lice infestation and skin ailments, such as eczema, sores, ulcers, and dermatitis.
  • The plant is used to make an infusion that is taken as emetics. 
  • The plant is used to treat mastitis.
  • The plant is used to treat kidney and bladder ailments. 
  • The plant is used as a cardiotonic.
  • The plant is used to treat gynaecological disorders, such as a urinary tract infection. 
  • The plant is used as an ornamental.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Arnold, T.H., Prentice, C.A., Hawker, L.C., Snyman, E.E., Tomalin, M., Crouch, N.R. and Pottas-Bircher, C., 2002. Medicinal and magical plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 13. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Fox, F.W. and Norwood Young, M.E., 1982. Food from the veld. Delta Books, Johannesburg.
  • Kokwaro, J.O., 1976. Medicinal plants of east Africa. East African Literature Bureau, Nairobi. 
  • Samuelson, G., Farah, M. H., Claeson, P., Hagos, M., Thulin, M., Hedberg, O., Warfa, A. M., Hassan, A.O., Elmi, A. H., Abduraham, A.D., Elmi, A.S., Abdi, A. Y. and Alin, M.H., 1993. Inventory of plants used in traditional medicines in Somalia. IV. Plants of the families Passifloraceae-Zygophyllaceae Journal of Ethnopharmacology 38, pp.1–29.
  • Watt, J.M. and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., 1962. Medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa, second edition. Livingstone, London.

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Feel Free To Add Other Uses Of This Plant In The Comment Section Below:

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