Creeping Yellow Wood Sorrel

Creeping_Yellow_Wood_Sorrel_jpgThe Oxalidaceae family commonly called the Wood-Sorrel family consists of 8 genera and 575 species of herbs, shrubs and a few trees; found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions.  These are the wood-sorrels to distinguish them from the field or meadow Sorrels (Rumex).  One Mexican species, Oxalis deppei, is cultivated for its edible tubers. There are about 20 species of Oxalis in the United States.  Some are attractive woodland plants but more are common weeds of moist open or semi open areas, waste places, roadsides, and fields.  Creeping Yellow Wood Sorrel is an invasive weed. The most abundant of these acid-tasting plants is common yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta).  A few species of wood sorrels have subterranean bulbs which are of some value to wildlife.  The succulent, three-leaflet leaves and minute seeds are also eaten by upland gamebirds, songbirds and small mammals. The family name (Oxalidaceae) and genus name (Oxalis) is from the Greek name for “sorrel” or “sour” oxys. The sour taste of the leaflets, when properly sweetened, make a refreshing cold drink. The leaflets can also be added to a green salad.  Plants in this genus (Oxalis) are said to provide relief for digestive disorders.

  • Other Common Names Creeping Lady’s Sorrel
  • Scientific Name Oxalis corniculata
  • Community Primary Dune
  • Status Native
  • Lifespan Annual
  • Height Creeping on soil
  • Flowering Time April to November
  • Fruiting Time May to late November
  • Distribution Many states in United States ~ Scattered in the Delaware and Raritan Valleys in New Jersey
  • Identifying Characteristics

    Stems for a slender tap root, prostrate and often rooting at many nodes ~ Leaflets small, green, purple or bronze, clover-like—3 heart shaped leaflets ~ Flowers short (4-8 mm), yellow petals ~ Seed pendulous from axis, very small ~ Fruit in a capsule