Last modified on 21 May 2009, at 13:12

Organic Horticulture in the Mid-Atlantic/Oxalis

Oxalis (Woodbines)
The genus Oxalis (Woodbines) contains both native and invasive weedy species that are common throughout the region. Two species are erect annuals, while the third is a creeping perennial.

All species have trifoliate leaves with heart-shaped leaflets. On the annual types the leaves are a pale green, while on the perennial creeping species the leaves are purplish. Flowers are small, yellow, and trumpet-shaped with 5 lobes. Horn-like seed pods soon follow, opening explosively when ripe.

When pulling oxalis, plants should always be put directly into a container (not piled) to avoid broadcasting the seeds. With the exception of very small seedlings, they should never be composted in a cold pile.

The creeping species (O. corniculatus) will regrow from small root fragments, so care must be taken to get the entire root. It can be distinguished from the other species by the purplish cast to the foliage and a lower growing habit rooting at the nodes.


O. stricta
Creeping woodsorrel, O. corniculatus
flower