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Portulaca villosa
Alternative Botanical Names
Portulaca caumii
Portulaca hawaiiensis
Portulaca pilosa

Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Portulaca villosa
Portulaca villosa is a perennial, succulent herb with a fleshy taproot. The stems are prostrate and up to 12 inches long. The small leaves are linear to oblong 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 villosa is an endemic species and is considered "vulnerable" - likely to become endangered in the near future. It grows on dry sites in a variety of soil types from sea level to nearly 1,000 feet. It has been found on all of the main island except Ni'ihau and Kaua'i. It also grows on Nihoa and Ka'ula. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The fruits of Portulaca villosa are 1/8 inch oval capsules and are filled with dark reddish brown seeds. The capsules split open when ripe. To collect seeds, place mature unopened fruit in a container such as a paper bag and allow them to open naturally.

Sow the seeds on the surface of a pre-moistened, sterile, well draining mix. Do not cover the seeds with planting mix. (Bornhorst 1996; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
Portulaca villosa 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.

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. 1074-1075.

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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:
8 March 2000

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