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Portulaca, Portulaca oleracea

Family of portulaceae

It is a small plant with pulpy leaves and stems, and it is found in Summer in well drained soils or like an infesting plant in gardens. The plant is edible and it is used to prepare salads together with other herbs, or to cook minestrone, or it can be boiled and then sautéed with butter and oil.

In past years the plant was valuable because of its refreshing and astringent properties, especially for the mouth. In the Renaissance it was used to prepare "panzanella". It was able to enrich with its flavour poor bread leftovers, and for this reason a famous Florentine sculpture praised it in a nursery rhyme.

Picture and text of Tebaldo Lorini
Translated by Gianna Toni

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