Plants perennial; roots tuberous. Stems stiffly erect, suffrutescent; trichomes con-spicuous at nodes and in inflorescence; branches (8-)15-30 cm. Leaf blades linear, terete, (4-)8-20(-30) × 0.5-2.8 mm, apex acute to subacute; involucrelike leaves 6-9. Flowers 25 mm diam.; petals orange, brown-orange, copper, or bronze, color often deepening at base, obcordate or emarginate, 7-12 × 4-5.5 mm; stamens 25-35; stigmas 4-7(-8). Capsules subglobose, 2.5-5 mm diam. Seeds leaden, slightly iridescent, 0.5-0.65 mm; surface cells loosely arranged in distinct rows, raised, stellate, tubercles usually present. 2n = 8.
Flowering spring-late summer. Rocky slopes, flats, grasslands, roadsides, sandy or gravelly soils along streams; 900-2100 m; Ariz., N.Mex., Tex.; n Mexico.
In the nonflowering condition, Portulaca suffrutescens resembles P. pilosa, although P. suffrutescens is stiffly erect. Another characteristic of this species is elongation of the internodes such that the overall impression of density of trichomes appears to be less than in P. pilosa. This feature will not be apparent in immature plants, or in those growing in dry conditions in which little internode elongation may have taken place. Immature seeds appear black, with rounded tubercles on the abaxial spine.
PLANT: Perennial herb from tuberous thickened rootstocks. STEMS: erect or ascending 10-23 cm high, somewhat suffrutescent. LEAVES: alternate, sometimes subopposite, the blades cylindrical, linear, 7-20 mm long, 0.5-1.5 mm wide; nodes with long hairs. INFLORESCENCE: villous with conspicuous, mostly tan or brownish hairs; involucral leaves 6-10, 6-30 mm long, 0.5-2 mm wide. FLOWERS: clustered at the ends of branches; petals orange or copper colored, 3- 10 mm long; stigmatic branches 5-6. CAPSULE 2-4.5 mm in diameter; stipe to 1 mm long SEEDS: black, sometimes iridescent, rounded-tuberculate. NOTES: Rocky slopes, flats, grasslands, roadsides, disturbed places, and in sandy, gravelly places along streams: Cochise, Gila, Graham, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai cos.; 600-1850 m (2000-6000 ft); May-Sep; NM, TX; n Mex. REFERENCES: Allison Bair, Marissa Howe, Daniela Roth, Robin Taylor, Tina Ayers, and Robert W. Kiger., 2006, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Portulacaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 1-22.
Wiggins 1964, Bair et al. 2006
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Erect or ascending fleshy herb 5-30 cm tall, from tuberous rootstocks, somewhat woody at base, hairs in axils of leaves conspicuous. Leaves: Blades linear, terete, 1-3 cm long, 1-2 mm broad, acute at apex. Flowers: In few-flowered terminal clusters, surrounded by 6-8 leaves and pale brown hairs 4-6 mm long, sepals broadly ovate to suborbicular, 5-8 mm broad, 6-7 mm long; petals copper or buff colored, 7-12 mm long, emarginate to obcordate. Fruits: Capsule subglobose, 3.5-5 mm in diameter, 5-6 mm long, circumsessile below middle. Ecology: Found on plains and in open areas in full sun, often in dry sites from 3,000-5,500 ft (914-1676 m); flowers July-September. Rarely in spring. Distribution: AZ, s NM, s TX; south to c MEX. Notes: Portulacas in the region are small herbs with succulent leaves and stems, can have colorful flowers and possess capsules with few-many subtending leaves. This is one of the showiest species of Portulaca, with bright orange flowers to 2 cm. Also distinguished by being perennial, with round, elongated leaves and tufts of hair at nodes and surrounding capsules. Ethnobotany: Unknown, other species in genus have some uses. Etymology: Portulaca means -milk-carrier,- it is also Latin for small gate or door, from the capsule lid, while suffrutescens means woody base. Synonyms: Portulaca neglecta, P. oleracea subsp. granulatostellulata, P. oleracea subsp. impolita, P. oleracea subsp. nicaraguensis, P. oleracea subsp. nitida, P. oleracea subsp. papillatostellulata, P. oleracea subsp. stellata, P. retusa Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015