Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Portulaca pilosa L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Leaves and flowers. © CSIRO
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. (1753) Species Plantarum 1: 445.

Common name

Akulikuli; Hairy Portulaca


Annual or perennial prostrate herbs 5-20 cm tall. Stems not articulated, densely caespitose, diffuse and much branched; leaf axils densely pilose.


Leaves alternate, succulent, with axillary hairs 1-1.5 mm long; leaf blade terete-linear or subulate-lanceolate, 10-20 × 1-4 mm, apex acute.


Flowers borne in heads or fascicles but usually with only one flower open at any time. Flowers 6-8 mm diam. surrounded by involucre of 6-9 bracts and dense wool. Calyx lobes ca. 3 mm long with dense 5-6 mm long white hairs at base. Corolla bright pink, 6-7 x 3 mm, connate at base. Stamens 20-30, filaments red, free. Ovary ca. 1.5 mm diam., the basal half densely clothed in white hairs. Style and stigma red, stigma 3-6 -lobed.


Fruit a capsule 2-2.5 mm diam. which dehisces along the equator like an operculum. Seeds black, numerous, 0.4-0.7 mm diam. Testa cells interlocking, domed to conic-tuberculate. Embryo C-shaped.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 560 m. Grows in open areas in rainforest, Eucalypt forest, Melaleuca forest, various types of woodland, along margins of mangroves, shrubland and in grassland.

Natural History & Notes

A weed of gardens and other disturbed places.

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