Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
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1word1day

Thursday word: portulaca

portulaca (pohr-chuh-LAK-uh) - n., any of a genus of mostly tropical plants with fleshy leaves, including the purslanes.


Some of which are grown as ornamentals for their showy yellow or magenta flowers. Portulaca oleracea, otherwise known as common purslane, verdolaga, or pigweed, would be the one growing in my back yard, getting eaten by hornworm caterpilars -- and makes for decent eating. The ancient Greeks are recorded as having eaten purslanes, and it's often one of the seven green herbs eaten as part of Japanese New Years celebrations. Both portulaca and purslane are descended from the same Latin word, portulāca, the former directly via the genus name, the latter via Late Latin > Old French > Middle English, with sound softenings at every step. Portulāca itself is from portula, diminutive of porta, gate, from the lid of its seed capsule.

---L.
Tags: latin, noun, old french, p
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