If you’ve ever witnessed a landscaper, gardener, or yard owner shouting, cursing, and thrashing his grass or garden with a golf club, shovel, or other dangerous metal implement, then chances are you’ve seen just how a lot of the world feels about purslane.
A succulent that’s native to India but—probably by hitching a ride out of town mixed in with other produce—has taken on “invader” status in countries all around the world, purslane has fleshy leaves and stems that lie flat on the ground and create mats that choke plants and kill luscious lawns. But this weed is more than just the John Wayne Gacy of the veggie patch: It’s also a plant so full of beta-carotene, vitamins (A, B, C, and E), minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium), and omega-3s (ALA and EPA), it’s more nutritious than just about any pricey produce you can buy.
To get this healthy, tasty (lemony and spicy) green into your diet, simply pluck it out of your yard (if the ground is pesticide-and herbicide-free), pick it up at Whole Foods, or—if it’s past frost season or the ground’s covered with snow—buy the seeds online and grow them in a pot on your windowsill.
In a simple salad with some goat cheese and a light vinaigrette, you’ll forget what an evil bastard it can be.