Wood Sorrel

Scientific name: Oxalis species
Abundance: plentiful
What: leaves, flowers, seedpods, tubers
How: salad, seasoning
Where: shady undergrowth
When: spring, summer, fall, winter
Nutritional Value: Vitamins A & C
Dangers: Contains some oxalic acid, limit consumption to a handful per day.

Medicinal Summary
Leaves, Flowers, Stems - fever reducer; diuretic; relieves indigestion (tisane, tincture)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves of Oxalis species are typically arranged alternately along the stem. Leaves fold up together at night.

Leaf Shape: Leaves are compound with three heart-shaped (cordate) leaflets, each leaflet measuring around 1/2 to 1.5 inch in width (depends on species).

Leaf Venation: Pinnate venation with veins running from the base to the tip of each leaflet.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margin is typically entire, but it can be slightly toothed.

Leaf Color: The leaves vary in color but are often medium green.

Flower Structure: Five-petaled flowers with distinctive, funnel-shaped petals.

Flower Color: Flower colors can vary widely among Oxalis species, including shades of white, yellow, pink, and purple.

Fruit: The fruit is an elongated, pointed capsule containing small seeds.

Seed: Small, rounded seeds are found within the capsules.

Stem: The stem is usually smooth and erect, often with no or few hairs.

Hairs: Fine hairs may be present on some species but are not a prominent feature.

Height: Oxalis species vary in height but are generally low-growing, typically ranging from a few inches to about a foot.

Wood sorrel (Oxalis crassipes)

Another picture of wood sorrel (Oxalis crassipes)

Close-ups of wood sorrel flower (Oxalis crassipes).


Common yard weed wood sorrel (Oxalis dillenii), often mistaken for a clover.

My girls love the tangy wood sorrel "bananas" or seed pods of wood sorrel.

Purple-flower, giant wood sorrel with their tubers.
Wood Sorrel

Two types of wood sorrel.
Wood Sorrel

Close-up of wood sorrel tubers. Each "scale" is a thick, triangular wedge that easily break away from each other.
Wood Sorrel

Tubers from a decorative, purple-leaf wood sorrel.
Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel leaves (left) are heart-shaped while Clover leaves (right) are rounded.
Wood Sorrel Clover

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Patches of wood sorrel are very prevalent on forest floors, often near wild violets, cleavers, wild onions, etc... The three-lobed leaf looks similar to clover/shamrocks but sorrels have a cleft at the top, giving them a heart-shape whereas clovers are round or slightly pointed. Wood sorrel leaves range in size from 1/2" to almost 3" across. They have a very strong, tangy flavor that some people find too intense. It only takes a few to spice up a salad. The purplish-pink flowers can also be added to salads though mainly just for color. Wood sorrel whipped into butter makes a lemony-butter that goes great on bread, fish, and crawfish. Throw 1/2 cup of chopped wood sorrel into a can of cream of mushroom soup if you want to tick off Poland (sorry, you'll have tp take my class in person to get that full story!).

Wood sorrel tubers can be just about any color of the rainbow. They have less oxalic acid than other parts of the plants so they aren't as tangy. Their flavor is somewhat like a carrot and so that's how I use them: raw, steamed, or tossed into stews.

Excessive amounts of oxalic acid theoretically can lead to kidney stones though there's never been any actual reported case of this happening. Cautious types should be sure to drink plenty of water when eating wood sorrel. Also avoid dairy products, if possible, as the oxalic acid binds strongly to the calcium to make calcium oxalate, which is the key mineral of the kidney stones.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Privacy & Amazon Paid Promotion Statement

I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.

I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The prices you pay for the item isn't affected, my sales commission comes out of Amazon's pocket.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.