Any of various succulent plants of the genus Portulaca, especially P. grandiflora of South America, cultivated for its showy colorful flowers that open only in sunlight. Also called moss rose, rose moss.
[Middle English, from Latin portulāca, purslane, from portula, diminutive of porta, gate (from the gatelike covering of the seed capsule); see per-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.