Oxalis violacea

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Oxalis violacea
Violet wood-sorrel
Violet Wood-Sorrel - Oxalis violacea.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Oxalidales
Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis
Species: O. violacea
Binomial name
Oxalis violacea
L.
Synonyms
  • Ionoxalis violacea (L.) Small
  • Oxalis violacea L. var. trichophora Fassett
  • Sassia violacea (L.) Holub

Oxalis violacea, the violet wood-sorrel, is a perennial plant and herb in the Oxalidaceae family.[1] Oxalis species are also known as sour grass, sour trefoil, and shamrock.

Distribution[edit]

It is native plant in much of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains east to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and through Eastern Canada. It has a tendency to cluster in open places in damp woods and on stream banks, and in moist prairies.[1]

The plant is listed as a threatened or endangered species in five eastern U.S. states.[2]

Description[edit]

Oxalis violacea emerges in early spring from an underground bulb, and grows to an average height of approximately 7 inches. The three-part leaves have heart-shaped leaflets. It is similar in appearance to small clovers such as the shamrock.

The plant bears violet colored flowers above the foliage, during April, May, and June.

Uses[edit]

Medicinal[edit]

Oxalis violacea was used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans, including the Cherokee and Pawnee peoples.[3]

Culinary[edit]

All parts of the plant are edible; flowers, leaves, stems, and bulb. Oxalis is from the Greek word meaning sour, and this plant has a sour juice. It is used in salads. Moderate use of plant is advisable, as it should not be eaten in large quantities due to a high concentration of oxalic acid, ("salt of lemons") which can be poisonous.[4]

It was a traditional food source of the Native American Apache, Cherokee, Omaha, Pawnee, and Ponca peoples.[3]

Cultivation[edit]

Oxalis violacea is cultivated as an ornamental plant, for use as a flowering groundcover or perennial plant in traditional and native plant gardens, and for natural landscaping projects.[5] It spreads rapidly by runners and bulbs.[6] In gardens the plant prefers partial shade and moisture.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]