Yellow Wood Sorrel

Oxalis stricta

Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis (oks-AL-iss) (Info)
Species: stricta (STRIK-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Ceratoxalis coloradensis
Synonym:Oxalis europaea
Synonym:Oxalis prostrata
Synonym:Oxalis rupestris
Synonym:Xanthoxalis florida
View this plant in a garden




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Grown for foliage


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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


Salem, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Los Angeles, California

Oakland, California

Redwood City, California

Reseda, California

Roseville, California

San Francisco, California

Seaside, California

Sonoma, California

Cos Cob, Connecticut

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Kapolei, Hawaii

Chicago, Illinois

Westchester, Illinois

Lake Station, Indiana

Oakland City, Indiana

Valparaiso, Indiana

Osceola, Iowa

Benton, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Portland, Maine

Skowhegan, Maine

Ellicott City, Maryland

Waltham, Massachusetts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Cole Camp, Missouri

Billings, Montana

Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Plainfield, New Jersey

Deposit, New York

Fairport, New York

New York City, New York

Henderson, North Carolina

Bucyrus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Haviland, Ohio

Hilliard, Ohio

Edmond, Oklahoma

Pocola, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Westerly, Rhode Island

York, South Carolina

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Dallas, Texas

Eagle Pass, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Irving, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 13, 2014, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

What a horrible weed. This is by far the most common and pervasive weed I deal with. 20 years of hand weeding (no chemicals at all), and every year I pull out buckets of this plant. Last year I applied a manure product to my garden and apparently it was so LOADED with sorrel seeds that I have been weeding every week for the entire growing season and still can't keep on top of it. The persistence of this plant alone has been enough to cause me to consider reducing my garden size since I can't keep up with the weeding. If the plants aren't weeded out when young they produce long snaking roots that survive the winter and of course seeds and more seeds.


On Jul 15, 2013, DannyJoe from York, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Gets into everything -- EVERYTHING.
And VERY persistent.
WARNING = Has nice lemony flavor; BUT can cause gout ' arthritis. If you eat some and the joints in your hands or feet become painful, then you know what caused it.

Yellow Wood Sorrel gout
Oxalis gout


On Jun 19, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Oxalis stricta is native to the U.S. and Canada. Several species of songbirds and upland gamebirds eat the seeds, including the Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Horned Lark, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Slate-Colored Junco. The Cottontail Rabbit and White-Tailed Deer eat this plant occasionally, even though the leaves are slightly toxic from oxalic acid.

I was surprised to read the reviews about how invasive it is, especially in California it seems. I hardly have any of it here in Northwest Indiana. I read that it doesn't compete well with larger plants so perhaps that's why it's kept in check in the woods here. Dare I say, I'd love to have more of it.


On Jan 25, 2011, cabngirl from Sonoma, CA wrote:

This may or may not be the precise variety of oxalis for which I was searching -- but indeed obviously others also posted here about the same thing I no doubt have- the bright acid yellow flowering invasive type, which I suspect is not the only yellow flowering oxalis. All I know is it's incredibly, horrifically invasive (I'm in Sonoma), earning "Frankenstein status" in my garden. I've seen it in fields along Hwy 1 N of Santa Cruz and wondered if it took over or was planted as a companion crop, if it's a nitrogen fixing type of plant or what. It's not that I don't like it aesthetically, I actually love when it comes up in spring and makes it's lush blanket- but criminy!- it's springing up in every pot within a stone's throw and is impossible to get rid of! The pips remain and evidently it ... read more


On Jun 30, 2008, laura10801 from Fairfield County, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

Do not deliberately put this in your garden! I don't know how it got into mine, but I cannot remove it. It grows in and around other, desirable plants, and would completely own my rock garden if I left it unchecked. If you are thinking of actually spending money to get this plant, don't bother, just come over to my place and help me weed my garden and you keep the dozens of specimens I cannot keep from coming back over and over and over.


On May 12, 2008, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

wow...was completely amazed to see any but negative comments about this horrific pest. I grow a lot of rare succulents and cacti, and this plant is ubiquitous and impossible to eradicate. That anyone would actually grow it on purpose amazes me. If anyone wants some, I have about a hundred million specimens.

I was wondering for a while there if perhaps this was a plant that actually spontaneously generated itself since it virtually showed up in every potted plant I ever bought or planted myself, even those from certified sterile soils. Then I was weeding some cactus pots with exceptionally dry soils, and just touching the Oxalis plants elicited an 'explosion' from their seed pods send showers of itty bitty reddish brown seeds in all diretions, up to several feet away, i... read more


On Feb 18, 2008, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

Wouldn't grow it on purpose, but don't mind it either-have fond memories of looking for this one as a child and eating it. Now my oldest son hunts out the "little bananas" to eat.


On Feb 18, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This is a very aggressive weed - Number 1 worst weed for me. Will grow anywhere - even the purple leaf form is just as bad - comes in three size - giant where there are lots of competitions, regular for most landscapes, and dwarf for paths and even lawns. I have seen the dwarf flower and set seeds in lawns. I consider this species the most evil little thing that ever existed.

They often hide under or even in plant clumps, and will grow in desert regions in pots for succulent plants, living on even small amounts of moistures or in the greenhouse. They will grow even in pots put in edge of ponds for bog plants that have the dirt constantly wet - only flooding to a inch or so seem to kill them. Full Sun or Full shade don't bother them thought in full shade they are slower to m... read more


On Oct 8, 2007, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

It is a weed in everywhere in pots,and on ground.Freely Grow and provide lots of seeds.


On May 19, 2007, jamiejamison from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I'm in the Southern California, Los Angeles area. Yellow Wood Sorrel shows up whether we like it or not around here. It can be a pest but I've been trying it out as a dye plant (the flower part) for cotton. It seems to work fine dried - so I collect and save year around.


On May 9, 2007, Genghis wrote:

I love this plant. It has nice yellow flowers and the leaves are delicious. To bad the creeping charlie wiped it out in my yard.


On Sep 18, 2006, nefabit from Kapolei, HI wrote:

Wood sorrel is definitly a somewhat noxious plant here in Hawaii, but I do not see it in a bad light, for it is very useful as medicine. If I see it, a gather and dry it to use later. Also, it is a very pretty plant that I don't mind seing. Of course, I like a somewhat meadowy looking yard, so that could explain it.


On Mar 19, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

I live in Southern Ontario(zone 6a) and this is a peskey weed! It'll grow ANYWHERE! In deep dry shade, baking hot sun and it sprouts up behind the lattice on the front of the house where theres almost no light and it never gets any moisture in there........But it somehow sprouts, grows big and pokes through. I also have a purple form that sprouts up in the sunnier spots.....To me its a weed!


On May 11, 2005, BotanyDave from Norman, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant comes up volunteer in my garden, but not enough for my tastes. Oxalis is so called due to the presence of oxalic acid, so the vegetation tastes sour, like lemons. Some people call the little seed pods "little bananas." I like to collect the seeds when ripe- the pods are spring-loaded and launch the seeds everywhere. It is possible to make a lemonade substitue using a concentration of this plant- it was rather popular in the olden days, I understand. Like many foods, you can have too much of a good thing: if you were to eat only oxalis by the plateful over the course of several days, you would be asking for trouble (in the form of gall stones, etc...)- not that this is a very likey occurance, but a disclaimer is always handy. I sometimes wonder if the fake lemonade would h... read more


On Mar 11, 2005, norska from Ellicott City, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I think this native is cute, even if it is somewhat, errr, exhuberant in its spreading habit. :)
Some people have found a great use for it. When I was at a home & garden show recently, a number of vendors had potatoes with O.stricta growing in them! Such a cute decorative idea for St.Patrick's Day! So, try to save some of that "pesky" seed to plant indoors next January or February, so you can celebrate the Wearin' (or Growin') of the Green!
(yeah, so it's not the traditional Irish shamrock, so what?)


On Jan 31, 2005, designart from Schwenksville, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Oxalis europaea, Yellow Wood Sorrel
No, I don't plant this native little guy but I do enjoy it. Even though it does come up when it may not be wanted I gather and press it to use in botanical artwork. Once you pick it, you need to press quickly because the leaves will begin to close in a minute or two. The flowers are not worth pressing but the leaves are excellent even if a little difficult to press. Besides, there are no weeds, only misplaced plants!


On Jan 31, 2005, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This invasive plant grows nearly everywhere in the USA. It is not a very attractive plant, in my opinion- it is small and not very showy. Everywhere I've gardened, this stuff has been a pain to keep out of my veggie and flower beds.


On Dec 4, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Oxalis strica is native to North America, but is found in Eurasia, as well. It grows along roadsides and trails, even growing in the cracks of sidewalks. It is a familiar "weed" in flower beds, as well.

O. stricta has light green, compound heart-shaped leaves. Each leaflet has a crease, and they fold upward to close in the evening or when stressed. In some cases, the leaves are tinged with purple. Their erect habit differs from other sorrels, as do the stems that tend to jut out at 90 degree angles. Small yellow flowers bloom from spring to autumn, singly or in clusters.

O. stricta does not throw runners, but reproduces by seed. It can function as either annual or perennial. The elongated seed pods have five compartments approximately 10 seeds to a compartment... read more