Portulaca, a Latin name used by Pliny (borne AD 23) from the Latin portere to carry and lac milk, referring to the mucilaginous nature of the sap. Shrubs and herbs often succulent; leaves alternate or opposite, simple. Flowers regular to somewhat irregular, petals usually 5 , maybe brightly coloured, stamens usually 5. Ovary of 2-5 fused carpels; fruit usually a dehiscent capsule often circumscissile.