Index- plants in this Family
Oxalidaceae / Wood Sorrel
Common Yellow Oxalis (Oxalis stricta)
Common Yellow Oxalis is also known as Sour Grass. Formerly know as Oxalis dillenii , Oxalis europaea , Oxalis florida and many other names also fromerly placed in the genus Xanthoxalis under several names.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 50cm in height (20inches).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can be as wide as 2 cm (0.75inches). Each leaf is divided into three heart shaped leaflets the point of the leaf toward the stem and the notch outward in the manner of a clover leaf. The leaves have a crease and fold up at night. The leaves sometimes have a purple cast.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts and are up to 1.3cm wide (0.5 inches). They are yellow. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into early fall.
Fruit: An elongated capsule.
Habitat: Fields, lawns, woods and borders.
Range: Common throughout the eastern U. S. and into Canada. Also found in most western states as well. Known from 46 states.

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The name Sour Grass is easy to remember by children who have tasted the leaves or unripe seed capsules. The tart bite of this plant is not unpleasant but the plant should not be consumed in large amounts due to the toxicity of the oxalic acid, the chemical responsible for the sour taste. See: Wood Sorrel, Oxalis

Similar Species: Great Yellow Woodsorrel, Oxalis grandis is a larger plant with yellow flowers up to 3.6cm (1.4") wide. It can be up to 100cm (39") high though it is usually shorter. The leaves sometimes have purple edges. It is found in woods.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves
Wood Sorrel



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