Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pink Wood Sorrel
Oxalis articulata subsp. rubra

Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis (oks-AL-iss) (Info)
Species: articulata subsp. rubra

Synonym:Oxalis dumicola
Synonym:Oxalis gutatta
Synonym:Oxalis halophila
Synonym:Oxalis platensis
Synonym:Oxalis rivalis

42 members have or want this plant for trade.

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under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 28 photos.
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16 positives
1 neutral
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Saloca On Feb 25, 2015, Saloca from Grapevine, TX wrote:

I have come to appreciate that there is more than one variety of green leafed, pink blooming oxalis, and I hope others can benefit from what I've observed:

1) Several of the older homes in my neighborhood have lovely tight clumps of old-time, pink blooming wood sorrel around trees, etc, which stay put, do not seem to spread. The blooms on these plants are medium pink with DARK PINK CENTERS. The bulbs of this version seems to stay fairly tightly together.

2) And then there is the nasty cousin, which probably comes in with nursery plants. I haven't figured out if this guy makes seed, but it grows from a small brown bulb (from ~1 to 10 mm) which quickly starts forming many small bulblets which readily fall away from the parent bulb. Any digging and transferring of soil quickly moves it around, or shoves it deep underground. It loves to grow tightly against another plant you don't want to dig up, or out in you lawn, mysteriously many yards away from the flower beds where it started. Herbicide on the leaf either doesn't kill the bulb, or there are so many more bulbs ready to take it seems to have no effect. This nasty cousin is also an attractive plant, just uncontrollable. Compared to the other nice plant, It seems to make a looser clump, has slightly larger and slicker leaves, and the best identifiable difference is that the pink blooms have LIGHT, SLIGHTLY GREENISH CENTERS.

Both the good and the bad above have rounded leaves. I have other types of oxalis which have squared off leaves, both green and purple leaf types, from pink to white blooms; these form a pinkish, almost braided-rope like "bulb" (?), which does not shed bulblets, and have never been a problem.

Negative vossner On Feb 28, 2014, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I don't like this plant and work hard at removing the corms. It's best to use a garden fork to ensure you get the corms. If you only remove the tops (foliage) it will keep coming back. I dislike it the most when it grows thru rain lilies or mondo grass, as it is difficult to get to the corms w/o damaging the other plants. I have tried spot application of roundup and that has proven fruitless. People, including me, often confuse this plant with shamrocks b/c foliage shape is similar.

Positive coriaceous On Jan 30, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The negative ratings here result from confusing this with other species of Oxalis. This species does not produce corms or bulbils.

There are over 800 species of Oxalis. Correct identification can be difficult. In nurseries, this plant is usually identified by the (technically invalid) name "Oxalis crassipes." Other species are often confused with it in commerce.

This is an attractive plant that produces plentiful pink or white flowers in shade non-stop from early summer till frost. This has been reported to go summer dormant in climates with hot dry summers, but I haven't seen this happen in New England. I have not found it to be either aggressive or miffy. I lost it one exceptionally cold winter when day temps stayed in the single digits (F) for over six weeks. Not hard to find by mail-order. HIGHLY recommended.

This forms clumps 8" high and a foot across. I have never seen this species self-sow, and growth of the finger-like rhizome is slow. This species does not produce bulbils or grow from corms. Identifying oxalis species can be a challenge, and some species can be nasty weeds, but not this one.

The leaves resist light frosts. In my area, this is tardily deciduous, but in warmer climates it can be evergreen.

Neutral MamaPanda8112 On Nov 7, 2013, MamaPanda8112 from Lincoln, AR wrote:

We found this beautiful plant in our yard under the gutter drain. We've decided to put it in a planter since our yard crew tends to cut it down every time. I'm hoping it will last through the winter and survive the transplant. Quite excited to have it!

Positive burien_gardener On Jun 16, 2013, burien_gardener from Burien (SW Seattle), WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Hate this plant??? Settle down. It's just a plant - not an invading terrorist army. I don't like petunias 'cuz they're sticky but I don't "hate" them.

Positive in2art On Jun 19, 2012, in2art from Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant!!!

I have had bad experiences with the invasive white oxalis; I am sill trying to eradicate it after 11 years. When my aunt tried to give me a start of this, I declined for several years. I noticed that it did not spread in her yard, so took a start. I'm so glad that I did. Is very well behaved, forming a short, round mound that is pretty much evergreen In my yard...although it dies back some in winter. As it gets denser, the corms grow together and form a big tuberous mass with corms around the edges. Fills in and expands, but does not wander AT ALL, even via seed

Positive HungryItalian On Mar 21, 2011, HungryItalian from West Palm Beach, FL wrote:

They grow wild in my yard. My dad hates them and pulls them up saying they'll take over. But I say why not? They're hardy, beautiful, and I like them better than grass. If it looks like it's going to take over my flower beds I just pull it, I've never had any trouble with it killing my other plants. It's leaves (I just found out) are tasty and tart but has Oxalic acid in it so don't eat too much.

Positive australorp On Mar 21, 2011, australorp from Lafayette, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've just uploaded a picture to this heading (Oxalis articulata f. crassipes), based on some of the other pictures here.

However, I'm wondering if mine (and some others' here) are not Oxalis debilis Kunth varietas corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig, 1981, according to picture in Wikipedia article (, whose depicted flowers look just like mine, with light centers and veining or stripes.

The Wikipedia article lists Oxalis articulata Savign. pink-sorrel | Oxalis articulata ssp. rubra (St.Hil.) Lourteig, with picture of flowers with dark centers.

Is there a more definitive picture-identification source somewhere, that I haven't yet come across? Dark centers vs. pale/green centers like mine?

I'm in zone 8b; acidic soil that supports azaleas, camellias, usually good amount of rainfall; dappled shade. These are plentiful on my lot, and in my pots, though neither side neighbor appears to have them. I try to remove them from my vegetable plots, but welcome them in flower beds, where they are no trouble at all. They appear and disappear at their will; I just enjoy them in their season.

Positive tallaway On May 28, 2010, tallaway from Crescent City, CA wrote:

My daughter recently moved into a house where this is scattered in clumps in the back lawn and we think it looks like a fairy-land. Because it is mowed regularly, the flowers only get a few inches higher than the grass, but it blooms for months. The previous owners were there for 40 years and the clumps never multiplied, only grew larger very slowly. Planted over 20 years ago, the clumps are now a solid mass of tubers, but this doesn't seem to affect bloom. One plant is in the border and the clump is the same size around (about 14"), but gets to 12 - 14" high because it isn't mowed. I still hate the invasive Oxalis, but I love this little cutie!

Positive gardenfinds On May 12, 2010, gardenfinds from Tulsa, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have this in my garden and it has been a reliable and beautiful addition. It was rescued from a yard where they were tearing down an old house in town. It replanted perfectly. It's been here for four years now and has never been invasive, just a bright spot in the garden.

Positive MTVineman On Aug 13, 2009, MTVineman from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Found this growing in a somewhat shady part of my yard the other day. How this plant got to Montana I'll never know. It may have hitched a ride with one of the other plants I mail ordered from Oregon. That's what I'm thinking. No complaints here. It's really quite beautiful and looks good growing where it seeded itself or however it got there. Interesting in that it continues to grow and get larger when it's not even native to Montana and is not supposed to be hardy here. Well, it sure is hardy in my yard! Now my neighbors are asking for starts of it.

Negative EveyB On Apr 6, 2008, EveyB from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

Hate...hate...hate this plant! Once the corm gets started, you cannot get rid of it. Some corms of this little plant came hidden in pine straw we used for mulch and thus the plant got started among our gardens. We were able to eradicate it with significant labor in the accessible areas, but it worked it's way into the liriope and refuses to leave. Over a year later, we've tried anything and everything to get rid of it! We tried digging up each clump of oxalis/sorrel, and when that didn't work, we tried digging up larger clumps of liriope. Those pink flowers just keep coming back... and bringing more little friends along with them each time they reappear!!! This stuff even survived Round Up applied directly to it with Q-tips (though the surrounding liriope did not faire so well!). Be sure you really love it before putting this plant in your garden, because you will be stuck with it forever.

Positive BAGTIC On Jul 17, 2007, BAGTIC from Thayer, MO wrote:

When I lived in California (95688) we raised them for more than fifty years. We had pale pink, dark pink ('old rose'), and white. I understand there is now a 'double' white form.

In our climate then they could, in good soil and location, reach 12-16 inches in height and were shaped like an inverted bowl. In the mild, summer dry California climate they grew fall-spring and were dormant during summer droughts. Never had any problems from them. Never any disease or insects either. Wonderful plant for a half-shaded border.

Positive ansonfan On Jan 10, 2007, ansonfan from Polkton, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

My family has cherished this plant as a border for 50+ years. It is the perfect border plant in that it grows in almost any conditions, is not at all a "garden bully" and best of all it blooms off and on all the time. It is January 10 here today in zone 7b with nighttime freezing temps and I found blooms on some of the plants just now. Considering how delicate this plant looks, that is amazing.

Positive RosieInGeorgia On Jul 14, 2006, RosieInGeorgia from Gainesville, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Agree with the others that this is a wonderful old-fashioned little passalong plant and just wanted to add that it's green most of the year here in mid-zone 7, certainly to hard winter, and in spring is a very useful green companion for early bulbs. Also confirming, it is a gentle spreader and not at all invasive (as some other oxalises most definitely are).

Positive grovespirit On Jan 30, 2005, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This pretty pink flowered charmer grows well in thick clay soils, rocky limestone soils, and even tolerates an alkaline pH. It tolerates drought and cold by going dormant. A great groundcover for shady spots. It also does well in containers, though it needs a bit more water that way. The flowers are nearly 1" across, which is big for an Oxalis.

Positive sundry On Nov 28, 2003, sundry from Franklin, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Zone 9, South.
This shy little sweetie appears in early spring in the most unexpected places. Where ever it does show up, it's always welcome. It's not aggressive or weedy at all. The darling flowers appear continuously.

When temps start to rise (high 80's F) the entire plant dies back to the ground. It re-appears in autumn, as soon as the temps start to drop. Here, the plants will persist in blooming until a hard freeze causes it to die back.

It does equally well in full sun or dense shade. Those in full sun die back quicker in summer, appear earlier in spring. They don't seem to mind periods of either drought or flood, tho they will droop during long periods of drought, if growing in a container. A quick hit with the hose perks it right up.

This is a darling little plant to grow at the base of taller perennials that don't make a show until summer. They require no special attention and seem to enjoy whatever treatment the plants around them get.

Positive antop On Nov 7, 2003, antop wrote:

Oxalis grew in my parents' garden in West Sussex UK and has been growing 25 years in my garden nearby. Has survived temperatures down to -10F. Survives drought quite well, but sometimes develops rust in dry weather. Flowers for weeks and, here in the UK, I get a second flowering if I cut off dead flowers, including the stems. It is a very pretty border plant which I wouldn't be without.

Positive Chili On Jul 22, 2002, Chili from Raleigh, NC wrote:

One of my favorite perennials. Durable and carefree. Dies back in heat and drought but responds quickly. Flowers close up in rain and cool weather.

Positive Terry On Aug 22, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This pass-along plant is very different from the true Sorrel (Rumex), but it shares a pleasant, mustard-like flavor in its edible leaves. (As its name implies, Oxalis crassipes contains oxalic acid; its flavor is not as mild as true Sorrel.)

Its bright pink flowers are cheerful in spring through early summer; in a protected spot, a second blooming in fall is common. It has finely divided leaves, similar to clover. The name translates as "thick foot" referring to the tuberous roots of this species. The thick, starchy roots make the plant particularly drought-tolerant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Madison, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Lincoln, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Crescent City, California
Oakland, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Jacksonville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake Mary, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Port Orange, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Clarkston, Georgia
Cumming, Georgia
Dacula, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Valdosta, Georgia
Murray, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Franklin, Louisiana
Gray, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Carriere, Mississippi
Florence, Mississippi
Meridian, Mississippi
Raymond, Mississippi
Helena, Montana
Albuquerque, New Mexico
La Luz, New Mexico
Schenectady, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Kinston, North Carolina
Polkton, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Chelsea, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Brookings, Oregon
Springfield, Oregon
Laurens, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dallas, Texas (2 reports)
Denton, Texas
Fate, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Georgetown, Texas
Gordonville, Texas
Grapevine, Texas
Haltom City, Texas
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Princeton, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Temple, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Bellevue, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Vancouver, Washington (2 reports)

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