(redirected from Woodsorrel)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(ŏk`səlĭs) or

wood sorrel,

any species of the plant genus Oxalis. Most of the cultivated kinds are tropical herbs used as window plants. The leaves are usually cloverlike and respond to darkness with "sleep" movements by folding back their leaflets. Several species grow wild in North America, including the white wood sorrel (O. acetosella), widely distributed in the north temperate zone and one of the plants identified as the shamrockshamrock,
a plant with leaves composed of three leaflets. According to legend it was used by St. Patrick in explaining the doctrine of the Trinity; it is now used as the emblem of Ireland. An artificial or real shamrock leaf is customarily worn on St. Patrick's Day.
..... Click the link for more information.
. This and, to a lesser extent, other species have long been used for salads and greens because of their pleasantly acid taste; these species contain oxalic acidoxalic acid
or ethanedioic acid
, HO2CCO2H, a colorless, crystalline organic carboxylic acid that melts at 189°C; with sublimation. Oxalic acid and oxalate salts are poisonous. Oxalic acid is found in many plants, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information.
. O. tuberosa has a starchy tuber that has been valued in the high Andes for centuries. Although species of Oxalis are called sorrels, the genus is unrelated to the true sorrel, or dock (genus Rumex), of the buckwheat family. Oxalis is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information.
, class Magnoliopsida, order Geramales, family Oxalidaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Enlarge picture


Lemony fun citrus-like tangy flavor, can be used as seasoning for fish etc. Superficially resembles clover (3 heart-shaped leaves joined at tip) 5 petal flowers can be white, pink, red or yellow. The edible root tubers look like small red and white fingerling potatoes. Tastes great and lots of people eat it, but don't eat large amounts at once because of high levels of oxalic acid which binds calcium and is hard on the kidneys. It forms calcium oxalate which is insoluble.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of plants of the family Oxalidaceae. They are perennial and, less frequently, annual herbs; some are subshrubs. The leaves are alternate and usually ternately or palmately compound. The flowers are pentamerous; the fruit is a capsule. There are approximately 800 species, distributed primarily in Southern Africa, South America, and Mexico. Six species are found in the USSR. The European wood sorrel, or sheep sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), which is often found in shady coniferous forests, is a small stemless plant with a creeping rhizome. The trifoliate bracts fold up at night and in overcast weather. The flowers, which are solitary, are white with pinkish violet veins. The leaves of the European wood sorrel, like those of the procumbent yellow sorrel (O. corniculata), contain vitamin C and oxalic acid; they are toxic to sheep when consumed in large quantities. Some African and American species are cultivated in a number of countries for their edible tubers. Many species are cultivated as ornamentals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Knotweed, lambsquarter, purslane, spurge, and yellow woodsorrel are common summer annual broadleaf weeds.
Veronica) Mouse-ear chickweed Lespedeza Prostrate spurge Chicory Mallow Spotted spurge Cinquefoil Black medic Spurweed Hop clover Mugwort Wild strawberry White clover Wild mustard Thistles Cranesbill Wild onion Prostrate vervain English daisy Birdseye pearlwort Wild violet Oxeye daisy Field pennycress Yellow woodsorrel Dandelion Pennywort Common yarrow Dichondra Parsley piert Yellow rocket Curly dock * Actually a sedge, not a true grass.
Oxalis violacea L.: violet woodsorrel. Rare on steep wooded slopes and ridge tops; 127; 104; C = 7.
There is less weed colonization by spotted spurge, creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata L.), and smooth crabgrass in Kentucky bluegrass and tall rescue irrigated by a subterranean system, compared with overhead (Gibeault et al., 1985).
Four other species, unknown sedge (Cyperus), narrowleaf marsh elder (Iva angustifolia), slender yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis dillenii), and slender wedgescale (Sphenopholis intermedia) were ubiquitous at our field site and were in low numbers (1-4 seedlings/ species) in the controls.
Illinois Woodsorrel. Two large Clark County populations were pointed out by Homoya about 1994 on the wooded floor of Lick Creek Ravine, in what is now Charlestown State Park.
The Illinois Woodsorrel has leaflets shallowly lobed with green margins; the Big Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis grandis Small) has leaflets deeply lobed with purplish-brown margins (Yatskievych 2000).
The seven plant species selected were as follows: common curly mesquite, a warm-season grass; Texas wintergrass, a cool-season grass; yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis dillenii) and upright prairie-coneflower (Ratibida columaris) , warm-season forbs; live oak and ashe juniper leaves, evergreen browse species; and live oak acorns.
The forbs, yellow woodsorrel and upright prairie-coneflower, and the browse, ashe juniper, did not differ (P > 0.1) in IVDDM among deer species, although a trend for greater IVDDM using inocula from sika deer was apparent (Table 1).