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Common Wood Sorrel Oxalis montana

Previously known as:

  • Oxalis acetosella
  • Oxalis acetosella ssp. montana
  • Oxalis acetosella var. rhodantha
Phonetic Spelling
oks-AL-iss mon-TAY-nah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Oxalis montana, or Sourgrass, is a flowering perennial plant in the wood sorrel family.  It is usually found growing in colonies in cool, rich, moist woods; especially hemlock and spruce-fir forests. Because it is a pretty, low growing, plant with white or pink flowers, you will also find it in flower gardens, lawns or as grown as a houseplant.  It can be weedy in disturbed areas. 

Sourgrass is a mounding plant with clover-like foliage and multiple flowers, with only one flower per stalk. The plant prefers moist soil and partial shade. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons and the extensive root network helps it stabilize the soil. The leaves open and close in response to sunlight and the flower color ranges across the spectrum of white to pink depending on the elevation. At lower elevations the petals have stronger pink-purple veining. In addition to the showy blooms, the plant also has cleistogamous flowers that do not open, the purpose of these is to self-pollinate the plant. This plant has low toxicity and therefore edible in small amounts for humans and animals.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insects problems.

More information on Oxalis.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small spaces#houseplant#weedy#toxic#interiorscape#cottage garden#NC native#fairy garden#childrens garden#native wildflower#native weed#perennial weed#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodlands#dainty flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small spaces#houseplant#weedy#toxic#interiorscape#cottage garden#NC native#fairy garden#childrens garden#native wildflower#native weed#perennial weed#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodlands#dainty flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Oxalis
    Species:
    montana
    Family:
    Oxalidaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    In small amounts, the leaves, flowers seeds, and tubers/roots can be eaten raw or cooked or the plant parts can be used to make lemon flavored drinks, tea, and salads. Use sparingly, because all parts of the plant have a low amount of toxicity (oxalic acid) if ingested. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are cooked.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and United States
    Distribution:
    Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, central and western New-England, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts pollinators, provides wildlife cover and habitat, nesting, food source, and larval host.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Defines Paths
    Edibility:
    Small amounts of leaves, flowers, seeds, tubers/roots can be eaten raw are not dangerous they lend a sour taste to drinks and salads, hence the common name Sourwood.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 3 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 3 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Creeping
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit a tiny erect rounded dry capsule with 5 sections that splits open when ripe to reveal 1 to 2 seeds per section.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Blooms May through July with two types of flowers: 1) Solitary, dainty, nodding flowers 1/2 to 3/4 on an inch across, 5-parted oblong-elliptic petals, radially symmetrical, white, lavender, or rose with deep pink veins and a spot of yellow at the base of the petals that are notched at the tip. 2) Late in the season flowers without petals appear on curved stems, remain at the base of the plant and do not open, they self-pollinate.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Clover-like compound, basal leaves with brown hairs long-stalked (though shorter than flowers stalks) with 3 leaflets. Shamrock-shaped leaves with three inverted heart-shaped leaflets, each about a 1/2 inch wide; slightly sour taste, leaflets close at night.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    No stems as such. Rather, clumps of leaves grow to about 4 inches. Flower stems are green but reddish at the base.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Frogs
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    The leaves contain oxalic acid that, taken in large amounts, can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution since it can aggravate their condition. All parts of the plant have toxic potential, although the possibility of serious effects is usually limited to ingestion of large quantities and there have been no documented cases in humans. Consuming Oxalis species can produce colic in horses, and kidney failure is possible if significant amounts are eaten. Caution: large quantities may cause trembling, cramps, and staggering as in grazing animal
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Soluble calcium oxylates
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems