Oxalis tetraphylla

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Four-leaved pink-sorrel
Oxalis tetraphylla leaf.JPG
A single leaf showing its 4 leaflets
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Oxalidales
Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis
O. tetraphylla
Binomial name
Oxalis tetraphylla

Oxalis deppei Lodd. ex Sweet

2007-07-01Oxalis tetraphylla02.jpg

Oxalis tetraphylla (often still traded under its syn. O. deppei) is a bulbous plant from Mexico. A common name is "Iron Cross", after a famous cultivar;[citation needed] it is also known as "lucky clover", and in a wild or feral state as four-leaf sorrel or, least ambiguously, four-leaved pink-sorrel.

It has leaves divided into four and has been called "lucky leaf" and even "four-leaf clover", but it is not a true clover. Related to the common wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), it is commonly used as an ornamental plant. It is also edible, the flowers and leaves having a sharp lemon flavor.[1] However, since the oxalic acid in the plant can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients in the body, especially calcium, too much can be harmful.[2]


Hardiness: Zones 8–9. If planted in early spring it will grow and flower throughout spring and summer. Some bulbs can survive a cold winter but in areas with frost they should be kept in a cool dry place over winter and replanted in the spring. The bulbs will multiply by autumn.


  1. ^ Anne Raver: Gourmet Vegetables: Smart Tips and Tasty Picks for Gardeners and Gourmet Cook. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York 2002, ISBN 1-889538-51-5, p. 17
  2. ^ Clive Stace; R. van der Meijden; I. de Kort, eds. (2004), Interactive Flora of the British Isles. A digital encyclopedia: (DVD-ROM) (in German), Wokingham: ETI Information Services Ltd., p. 3956, ISBN 90-75000-69-3, retrieved 2008-11-05