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Sesuvium portulacastrum facts for kids

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Sesuvium portulacastrum
Starr 080602-5547 Sesuvium portulacastrum.jpg
Scientific classification

Sesuvium portulacastrum is a sprawling perennial herb that grows in coastal areas throughout much of the world. It is commonly known as shoreline purslane or (ambiguously) "sea purslane," in English, and dampalit in Tagalog.


Sesuvium portulacastrum is a sprawling perennial herb up to 30 centimetres (12 in) high, with thick, smooth stems up to 1 metre (3.3 ft) long. It has smooth, fleshy, glossy green leaves that are linear or lanceolate, from 10–70 millimetres (0.39–2.76 in) long and 2–15 millimetres (0.079–0.591 in) wide. Flowers are pink or purple.


It was first published as Portulaca portulacastrum by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Six years later Linnaeus transferred it into Sesuvium, and it has remained at that name ever since, with the exception of an unsuccessful 1891 attempt by Otto Kuntze to transfer the species into a new genus as Halimus portulacastrum.

Distribution and habitat

Sesuvium portulacastrum grows in sandy clay, coastal limestone and sandstone, tidal flats and salt marshes, throughout much of the world. It is native to Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America, and has naturalised in many places where it is not indigenous.

Atsara, a Philippine condiment often featuring dampalit

Chemistry and Medicine

Fatty acid composition:- palmitic acid (31.18%), oleic acid (21.15%), linolenic acid (14.18%) linoleic acid (10.63%), myristic acid (6.91%) and behenic acid (2.42%) The plant extract showed antibacterial and anticandidal activities and moderate antifungal activity.

Human consumption

Sesuvium portulacastrum is eaten in the Philippines, where it is called dampalit in Tagalog and "bilang" or "bilangbilang" in the Visayan language. The plant is primarily pickled and eaten as atchara (sweet traditional pickles).

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