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Portulaca sclerocarpa
Alternative Botanical Names
None found
Common Names
'Ihi makole
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Portulaca sclerocarpa
Portulaca sclerocarpa is a perennial, succulent herb with a fleshy taproot. The stems are prostrate and up to 8 inches long. The small leaves are linear and pale grayish green. There are usually 3 to 6 flowers in small bunches at the ends of the branches. The flowers are white or pink. (Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
Portulaca sclerocarpa is an endemic species and is considered "vulnerable" - likely to become endangered in the near future. This plant is uncommon and and is found only on the island of Hawai'i. It occurs mostly in dry habitats at high elevations from 3,300 to 5,300 feet. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The fruits of Portulaca sclerocarpa are 1/8 inch oval capsules and are filled with dark reddish brown, shiny seeds. The capsules remain closed, even when ripe.

To remove the seeds from the capsules, air dry them at room temperature in a bowl or paper bag. Carefully rub the capsules through a strainer with the appropriate size mesh. The seeds should fall through leaving the debris in the strainer.

Sow the cleaned seed on the surface of a pre-moistened, sterile, well draining mix. Do not cover the seeds with soil. (Bornhorst 1996; Lilleng-Rosenberger 1998; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
Portulaca sclerocarpa is easy to grow from tip cuttings. Rooting hormones and mist systems are not necessary. Cuttings should be 2 to 5 inches long and the lower leaves should be removed. Sterile potting mix can be used as a rooting medium. The cuttings should be watered daily. They will root in a couple of weeks. (Bornhorst 1996)
Propagation by Division
Not applicable
Propagation by Air Layers
Not applicable.
Propagation by Grafting
Not applicable.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 30-31.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1998. Propagation techniques for native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):33-35.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 1074.

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The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
11 March 2000

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