Identify Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis spp)

How to Identify Wood Sorrel


Botanical Name
Oxalis spp



Known Hazards
This plant contains Oxalic acid, similar to rhubarb, giving it its’ sour taste, if you ingest too much of this acid you can upset your stomach. Saying that, you would have to eat a serious amount of wood sorrel to get to this point. To be avoided by anyone with kidney disease, kidney stones, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.

Could be confused with
Clover, the leaves are a little like those found on a clover, the main difference being that a clover leaf sits flat whereas a sorrel leaf has a distinct fold down the center of the leaf, making each leaf almost look like those of a butterfly.

Range and Distribution
Uk, Most of Europe (specifically Northern), Northern America and most of Asia.

Damp Woodlands

Physical Characteristics

This common perennial can grow in large patches connected by subterranean rhizomes, with the ability to produce by seed and by rhizome.

There are no stems, rather clumps on leaves growing together from 5-10cms in length. Each leaf collection is made up of three heart shaped leaflets, each leaf has a fold down its center which changes, opening and closing dependent on the amount of light available.

This plant amazingly has two types of flower, its first set of flowers from deep purple to white with distinct purple-white veins, are incredibly attractive, opening up and inviting many bumble bees, the second set of flowers that appear later in the year are called cleistogamous flower, these are very small, remaining fully closed and will self-pollinate.

Edible Use:
   Leaves: Edible salads, sauces, smoothies, juiced, cakes, icing
   Flower: All of the above


It’s a diuretic and has antiscorbutic properties as well has having a great cooling ability. It’s been used to calm stomach upsets.