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Oxalis stricta

Phonetic Spelling
oks-AL-iss STRIK-tuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Common yellow woodsorrel is a perennial weed in the Oxalidaceae (wood sorrel) family. It is native to North America and Eurasia and appears in woodlands, meadows, and disturbed areas.

Yellow woodsorrel is considered an aggressive weed in many turf and garden areas and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. It grows fastest in spring or fall and in warmer climates plants can be present year-round. These plants spread by rhizomes and stolons as well as by seeds which germinate quickly. Oxalis prefers dry to moist well-drained sandy-loam, alkaline soils. 

Woodsorrel from seed is well managed by most preemergence herbicides. Once established it is nearly impossible to completely remove woodsorrel rhizomes and stolons. Seeds need sunlight to germinate so mulch can help reduce germination but will not prevent plants from propagating from root pieces. Nonselective herbicides are effective when plants are young.

Quick ID Hints

  • The flowers are small and bright yellow.
  • The leaves are trifoliate and heart- shaped like shamrocks.
  • The seed pods are cylindrical.
  • The leaves curl up at night and open in the morning to photosynthesize.

Insects,  Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Plants harbor whiteflies and mites. 

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Travis Birdsell, County Extension Director and Extension Agent for Ashe County Extension

More information on Oxalis.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#edible plant#weeds#edible weed#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#NC native#heart-shaped#disturbed areas#cool season weed#poor soils tolerant#native weed#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#meadows#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#edible plant#weeds#edible weed#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#NC native#heart-shaped#disturbed areas#cool season weed#poor soils tolerant#native weed#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#meadows#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Oxalis
    Species:
    stricta
    Family:
    Oxalidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America, Eurasia
    Edibility:
    Leaves, stems, flowers, and seed pods are edible and have a sour, tangy flavor. Use sparingly due to oxalic acid content.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 2 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    Cylindrical seed pods that are explosive and can catapult seeds up to 16 feet away.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Bright yellow
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Heart-shaped trifoliate leaflets
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    All parts of the plant have toxic potential, although the possibility of serious effects is usually limited to ingestions of large quantities. Consuming Oxalis species can produce colic in horses, and kidney failure is possible if significant amounts are eaten.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Soluble calcium oxylates
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No