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Common Name: Yellow Wood Sorrel
Oxalis stricta is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.30 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[
Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Florida and Texas. E. Asia. A rare introduction in Britain.
Dry open soils[
]. Prefers impoverished soils, growing in abandoned fields, roadsides etc[
Easily grown in a sandy soil in a warm dry position[
Very closely related to O. corniculata, and seen as no more than a variety of that species by some botanists[
]. This variety differs from O. corniculata by stems erect, not rooting at nodes; branched or not[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A nice acid flavour[
], the leaves can also be chewed as a thirst quencher[
]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet,
Flowers - raw[
]. Added to salads.
Young seedpods - raw[
]. No further details.
A lemon-flavoured drink is made from the leaves[
An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of fevers, stomach cramps and nausea[
]. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat swellings[
A yellow to orange dye can be obtained by boiling up the whole plant[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
If you have enough seed it can be sown in situ during the spring.