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Oxalis violacea (Violet woodsorrel)
Smith, R.W.

Oxalis violacea

Oxalis violacea L.

Violet Woodsorrel, Violet Wood-sorrel

Oxalidaceae (Wood-Sorrel Family)

Synonym(s): Ionoxalis violacea, Oxalis violacea var. trichophora, Sassia violacea

USDA Symbol: oxvi

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (I)

This is an erect, delicate plant up to 16 inches tall. The long-stemmed leaves grow from the base and at first are longer than the flowering stem. They are divided into 3 leaflets, gray-green to bluish-gray above and green to reddish-purple below, but similar in structure to those of O. dillenii. Like those of all wood sorrels the leaves fold downward, together, at night and in cloudy weather. There are 4-19 flowers at the end of each stem, lavender to pinkish-purple, the eye of the flower usually a deeper purple. The wide-spreading petal-like lobes are 1/2-3/4 inch long. There are 5 petals and 10 stamens.

This is a very common woodland and moist prairie species, which is cultivated occasionally in the North. It spreads rapidly by runners from its bulbs, and often flowers again in autumn after the leaves have died.

Oxalis is from the Greek word meaning sour.


From the Image Gallery

24 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Green , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Native Distribution: Massachusetts and New York; south to Florida; west to Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and beyond our range.
Native Habitat: Usually sandy open woods, banks, rocky ground, prairies.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Loam


Attracts: Birds

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Oxalis violacea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Oxalis violacea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Oxalis violacea


Record Modified: 2023-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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