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Useful Temperate Plants

Oxalis tetraphylla

Cav.

Oxalidaceae


Closely related to Oxalis deppei, which is included in this species by many botanists[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

+ Synonyms

Acetosella tetraphylla (Cav.) Kuntze

Ionoxalis tetraphylla (Cav.) Rose

Oxalis hayi R.Knuth

Common Name:

Oxalis tetraphylla
Flowering plant. This form, with only three leaflets, has running roots and forms a mat of growth.
Photograph by: Ajna Fern
Creative Commons License
Oxalis tetraphylla Oxalis tetraphylla

General Information

Oxalis tetraphylla is a perennial plant growing about 15cm tall and spreading by means of a running rootstock to form quite large clumps.
The plant is gathered from the wild for its edible leaves and flowers, which are consumed locally.
This species has escaped from cultivation and become naturalized in many areas of the tropics.

Known Hazards

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[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Southern N. America - Mexico

Habitat

A weed of cultivated soil in Jersey[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.10 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Oxalis tetraphylla is not very cold-hardy, tolerating short periods with temperatures falling to between -5 and -10°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A very easily grown plant, preferring a sandy soil in a warm dry position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Our plants have proved to be very tolerant of neglect, succeeding for a number of years even in the dense growth of grass weeds[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. When well-tended, clumps can spread quite quickly[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
]. A pleasant acid flavour, though a little fibrous[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet.

Flowers - raw[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. A delightful acid flavour, they make an attractive addition to the salad bowl and are especially relished by children[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Root - cooked. Starchy but of poor quality[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

Ground cover[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The plants are dormant for about 5 months of the year, but grow so densely in the summer that they make an effective ground cover in full sun or light shade[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

Ground cover[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The plants are dormant for about 5 months of the year, but grow so densly in the summer that they make an effective ground cover in full sun or light shade[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is 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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-09-16. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Oxalis+tetraphylla>

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