Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Common Yellow Woodsorrel - Oxalis corniculata

Often viewed as a lawn weed, common yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) is also a native Florida wildflower and has its merits. If it wasn't so common it just might be appreciated more. Native throughout Florida in nearly every mesic upland habitat, It also is vouchered across the US and has been introduced in every southern Province of Canada, except Alberta - and I'm betting it occurs there too.
Common yellow woodsorrel is a perennial herb that dies back to the ground in cold climates, but stays evergreen here where I reside in south-central Florida. It is a creeping ground cover that sends plantlets off of its stoloniferous stems that slowly spread outwards in all directions from the main plant. Each mature plant is diminutive, standing no more than 2 inches tall and about 6 inches across. Over time, however, each cluster of plants can occupy areas several feet across.
Woodsorrels have clover-like leaves, but they are not in the same family. While clovers are legumes, woodsorrels are in the Oxalidaceae - the oxalises.  As such, their leaves are high in oxalic acid and this makes them sour to the taste. They are sometimes used as a salad green, but too much consumption of oxalic acid can lead to health issues. 
Flowering can occur year-round in southern latitudes and from spring through late fall where regular freezes occur.  The tiny 5-petaled bright yellow flowers are attractive. The inner throat is sometimes lined with red streaks near the base of the petals. They are pollinated mostly by small bees.
Taxonomists find this species a bit confusing and some would split this species into several different ones. I do not believe that I've lived in any yard since moving to Florida 33 years ago that did not already have common yellow woodsorrel in it. There seems little reason to propagate it commercially.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know if this site and the various postings have been useful to you.