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Common Name: Redwood Sorrel
Oxalis oregana is a Evergreen Perennial up to 0.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
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[
Western N. America - Washington to California.
]. Moist woods[
Easily grown in a moisture-retentive humus-rich soil in shade or dappled sunlight[
]. Succeeds in dense shade[
Grows well in a wild or woodland garden[
]. Plants can be very invasive when in suitable conditions[
Plant is growing very vigorously in quite dense shade under an Elaeagnus shrub in Cornwall - it stays green all year round and is fairly productive[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A acid, flavour, it is especially adored by children and makes an excellent addition to mixed salads[
]. The leaves can be harvested all year round[
]. A mass of the leaves and stems can be allowed to ferment slightly when they make a tasty dessert[
]. A sort of rhubarb pie can be made from the leaf stalks[
]. The leaf stalks are very thin - you would need an awful lot for a pie[
]. Use in moderation, see notes above on toxicity.
Flowers - raw[
]. A pleasant acid flavour[
A decoction of the whole plant has been used as a wash in the treatment of rheumatism[
The fresh juice of the plant has been used as eye drops to ease sore eyes[
A poultice of the wilted leaves has been used as a dressing on boils, sores and on swollen areas of the skin[
A good ground cover plant for a woodland garden[
], though it can be invasive[
]. It needs weeding for the first year or so[
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.