Monday, March 10, 2014

Pigweed - Trianthema portulacastrum


I recently added two new garden beds to my yard, filling them with local horse manure. Needless to say I now have a few new weed species! This is one of them:

Trianthema is a pigweed from the AIZOACEAE family, and originates in Africa and South America, It is quite variable in appearance due to environmental factors. 

When I discovered it I was about to remove it from the garden, and as with all new plants I smelt and tasted a bit of the leaf, and this one was not only palatable, but quite tasty! I asked around and all agreed it was a 'pigweed'. Now, to me pigweeds belong in PORTULACAEAE family, so I could not find it at first, but coincidentally it's picture appeared near the PORTULACAEAE section in Stanley & Ross's Volume 1!

It is known for its edibility in Africa, and so I now have a new salad herb!

Additionally, this herb has medicinal uses. It is known as Bishkhapra in Ayurvedic medicine, and there are both a red-flowered, red-stemmed variant, and a white-flowered green-stemmed variant. It has been used for a wide variety of complaints ranging from edema to cancer to intestinal parasites. There is an in-depth article on it's medicinal properties here;


  1. It looks familiar, something like Veronica. Any medicinal uses?

    1. Hi Lauren, yes, it does have medicinal uses. I couldn't find anything on it when I first posted this, but I did a little searching around after you commented, and have added the info to the above post, thanks! It seems mainly to have been used for edema and intestinal parasites.
      I am not aware of the herb Veronica. Do you have a botanical name for it?

    2. Veronica is the genus. There are over 500 varieties. Silly scientists say there are no native veronicas in the Americas, but if they had their way both continents were desert wastelands until the "settlers" got here. Just about every "native" plant is listed as a naturalized native of Europe.