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Oxalis stricta L.
Common yellow oxalis, Yellow Wood-sorrel
Synonym(s): Ceratoxalis coloradensis, Ceratoxalis cymosa, Oxalis bushii, Oxalis coloradensis, Oxalis cymosa, Oxalis europaea, Oxalis europaea var. bushii, Oxalis europaea var. rufa, Oxalis fontana, Oxalis fontana var. bushii, Oxalis interior, Oxalis rufa, Oxalis stricta var. decumbens, Oxalis stricta var. piletocarpa, Oxalis stricta var. rufa, Oxalis stricta var. villicaulis, Xanthoxalis bushii, Xanthoxalis coloradensis, Xanthoxalis cymosa, Xanthoxalis dillenii var. piletocarpa, Xanthoxalis interior, Xanthoxalis rufa, Xanthoxalis stricta, Xanthoxalis stricta var. piletocarpa
USDA Symbol: OXST
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)
A low spreading plant with clover-like, sour-tasting leaves and 1 to several yellow flowers.
With their clover-like leaves, the wood sorrels are easy to recognize. The sour taste of the leaves is distinctive and they may be used in salads, but sparingly, because of the oxalic acid content. The genus name comes from the Greek oxys (sour). This species is a cosmopolitan weed, perhaps originally native to North America. It is especially common as a garden weed. The very similar Upright Yellow Wood Sorrel (O. dillenii), a European introduction, has seed capsules on reflexed stalks. Large Yellow Wood Sorrel (O. grandis) has flowers to 1 (2.5 cm) wide and leaves often with purple edges; it is native and grows from Indiana east to Pennsylvania and south to Georgia and Louisiana.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
, WY Canada: NB
, PE Native Distribution:
Saskatchewan east to Newfoundland, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Minnesota; also in West. Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Woodlands edge, Opening, Throughout
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: All soils
Conditions Comments: This low plant is extremely common and has wide distribution in Texas. Seeds out freely and is probably best used in wild areas.
BenefitUse Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Small amounts of leaves, flowers, seeds, tubers/roots eaten raw are not dangerous. Gather stems and leaves during early spring through fall. Tender stems and leaves can be steeped in hot water. Use liquid as a sour lemonade-type drink. For tea, use a handful of leaves per pint of water. Add to salads for a lemony taste. Cook with greens to enhance mild flavors. Remove stems if too stringy. Use flowers raw in salads or as cooked greens. Add young seed pods to salads or cook with the leaves and stems. Clean tubers and roots and eat raw or cooked with the greens, seeds, and flowers. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Low toxicity if ingested (no documented cases in humans). Symptoms in grazing animals, when eaten in large quantities, may cause trembling, cramps, and staggering as in grazing animals. Toxic Principle: Soluble oxalate.
Deer Resistant: High
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
March 15, 2010
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National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0342
Collected May 26, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Record Last Modified: 2013-03-19
Research By: NPC