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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Portulacaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales

The family in the composition represented here is considered paraphyletic. Three genera and 41 species are native to southern Africa and a further genus and two species are naturalised in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

Talinum has been moved to the Talinaceae in the Caryophyllales. Ceraria and Portulacaria have been moved to Didiereaceae in keeping with the classification on the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Anacampseros and Avonia evidently need to be taken out of Portulacaceae in order to prevent the family from being paraphyletic but a family has not yet been designated for holding these genera.


Endemic to southern Africa, with the 17 species distributed mainly in arid and semi-arid areas.



Native to Somalia and southern Africa. Fourteen species native to southern Africa, concentrated mainly in Namibia and the Northern Cape. 



A cosmopolitan genus of 40 species, with 10 species native to southern Africa, particularly in arid areas, and a further species that is naturalised in the region. 


Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).


The 12-15 species are native to North and South America; Calandrinia ciliata, has become naturalised in the Western Cape. 


Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

Claytonia perfoliata is cultivated in southern Africa but is now classified under Montiaceae (see Caryophyllales).