Oxalis debilis corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig.
Oxalis martiana Zucc.
Common Name: Lilac Oxalis
Oxalis corymbosa is a perennial plant growing about 15cm tall.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for its edible leaves, flowers and root.
The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
Northern S. America northwards to the Caribbean and through Central America to Florida.
Moist, shady places at elevations of 45 - 1,200 metres in Jamaica[
]. A weed of disturbed ground and gardens in Britain, especially near London[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Oxalis corymbosa is not very cold-hardy, with one report listing it as succeeding in climatic zone 9 and higher, thus only tolerating occasional light frosts[
]. However, it is naturalized in parts of Britain, especially near London[
], and so should prove hardy to at least zone 8. It is growing well in our Cornwall site, where it has proved to be hardy for more than 20 years[
Easily grown in a sandy soil in a warm dry position[
Leaves and leafstalks - raw or cooked[
]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet.
Flowers - raw. A pleasant acid flavour, they make an ornamental addition to a mixed salad[
Root - raw. Sweet, crisp and succulent[
Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in late spring or early summer.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.