Index- plants in this Family
Oxalidaceae / Wood Sorrel
Wood Sorrel (Oxalis )
Wood Sorrel is also known as Shamrock, Sleeping Beauty, Sour Trefoil, Sour Grass, Hearts and many other names.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant.
Leaves: This plant has basal leaves only. In the case of Yellow Wood Sorrel the leaves are alternate. Each leaf is clover like, divided into three heart shaped parts creased down the middle.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts. They are white, pink, lavender and in some species yellow. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into early fall.
Fruit: Elongated capsule that in some species may open suddenly expelling the seeds for some distance.

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Daniel Reed

World wide there are about 800 species. Some species are trees bearing eatable fruit. The low growing wood sorrels we know here are common within their range. Some of the low growing yellow flowered Wood Sorrels are common "weeds" of lawns and fields. The sour tasting leaves and pickle shaped seed pods may be eaten fresh but not in great amounts. The scientific name Oxalis comes from the Greek and means "sharp" and the common name "Sorrel" means "acidic" or "sour". Both refer to the taste of the plant.

Medical Uses: Several writers have indicated that the plant could quench thirst and it has been touted for its ability to heal sores especially of the mouth, but old sores and "cancers" on the skin as well. It was also used to cool fevers and treat urinary problems. Warning The plant contains oxalic acid which is toxic in very large doses.

Similar Species: Mountain Woodsorrel, Oxalis montana, Violet Wood Sorrel, Oxalis violacea) Great Yellow Woodsorrel, Oxalis grandis and Common Yellow Oxalis, Oxalis stricta

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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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