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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.
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.