Description from Flora of China
Herbs annual or perennial, 5-20 cm. Stems not articulated, densely caespitose, diffuse, much branched; leaf axils densely pilose. Leaves alternate; petiole absent; leaf blade terete-linear or subulate-lanceolate, 10-20 × 1-4 mm, apex acute. Flowers more than ca. 2 cm in diam., surrounded by involucre of 6-9 bracts and dense wool. Sepals oblong, apex acute or acuminate. Petals 5, red-purple, broadly obovate, connate at base, apex obtuse or slightly retuse. Stamens 20-30; filaments red, free. Style short; stigma 3-6-lobed. Capsule glossy straw colored apically, cylindric-ovoid, ca. 3 × 2.5 mm. Seeds black, with very slight purplish iridescence when mature, 0.5-0.7 mm; testa cells interlocking, domed to conic-tuberculate. Fl. and fr. May-Aug.
This name has been very widely misapplied, and much material so named belongs elsewhere. Portulaca pilosa was described from South American material but it is now a widespread weed of warm regions. Geesink (Blumea 17: 294. 1969) included virtually all species of Portulaca with linear to elliptic leaves within P. pilosa, dividing these among eight subspecies. We believe that Geesink’s treatment was too inclusive and that the complex as defined by him includes a number of distinct species in our area, such as P. insularis and P. psammotropha. The exact identity of the Chinese material needs further investigation, particularly with respect to living populations.
The plants are used for medicinal purposes.
Dry open places near seashores. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan (including Xisha Qundao), Taiwan, S Yunnan [Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam; Africa, America].