Common Name: Bermuda Buttercup
Oxalis pes-caprae is a perennial plant growing about 20cm tall and spreading rapidly to form large carpets of growth.
The flowers, leaves and bulbs are all edible, being gathered from the wild and consumed locally.
Plants spread rapidly when in a suitable environment and can quite easily become a weed in virtually frost-free environments[
]. Plants seldom produce seed in Europe but they spread by means of asexually produced bulbils[
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[
S. Africa. Occasionally naturalized in Britain
Roadsides and grassy places in S. Africa[
]. Occasionally naturalized in S.W. England but it does not flower there[
Oxalis pes-caprae is not very cold-hardy, able to tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c[
]. It grows very well in Mediterranean climates, also succeeding in other regions of the temperate zone with mild winters[
Easily grown in a sandy soil in a warm dry position[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A pleasant acid flavour, the make a pleasant addition to mixed salads, whilst children especially like to eat them on their own[
]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet.
Flowers - raw[
]. A pleasant acid flavour, they make an attractive addition to the salad bowl[
Root - cooked[
]. The small bulb is sometimes eaten[
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.