Yellow Wood Sorrel

(Oxalis stricta L.)

Other Names:
Shamrock, erroneously clover


Oxalidaceae – Wood-Sorrel family

Growth Type:
A perennial low growing herbaceous plant

Rarely up to 1 ft high

Three part palmate-compound leaf consisting of three heart shaped leaves that fold along the middle.

The leaves grow on slender branched stems.

Tough rhizomes

Flower Season:
Spring to Autumn

Flower Appearance:
Five-petaled radially symmetrical flowers, whose color varies from species to species

Not observed

Miscellaneous characteristics:
There are no poisonous look alikes. Many people erroneously call this plant a clover. Clovers have a distinctive chevron pattern on their leaves. Wood Sorrel does not have this chevron. In the past I have guided nature walks for day care children, and this was the first plant I showed to them. As you may surmise, they were all quite familiar with "4 leaf clovers" and "shamrocks", but none of them knew you could eat the plant. Every one of the kids that were adventurous enough to sample the wood sorrel, loved it.

Grows in moist partially shades areas of woods, disturbed areas, lawns, lawn edges, and roadsides.

Parts Used:
Whole plant

Wild Food Uses:
The lemony flavor of this plant make it an excellent addition to salads. It is also good as a trail nibble. I find myself grabbing handfuls of it while I am out working in the yard. A delicious, lemony, thirst quenching, tea can be brewed from this plant.

It should be noted that the lemony flavor of wood sorrel comes from the compound oxalic acid. This acid has been shown to exacerbate kidney troubles, rheumatism, and gout. I have psoriatic arthritis, and I have eaten large quantities of wood sorrel with no ill effects.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
Decoctions made from the entire plant have been used to alleviate urinary disorders, stomach weakness, and increase appetite. It has been said to be effective at stopping vomiting. Drinking the decoction is also said to satisfy thirst and reduce fever in those with a high fever.

Medicinal Actions:
Antiscorbutic, Diuretic

image image