Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Yellow Wood Sorrel, Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel
Oxalis dillenii

Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis (oks-AL-iss) (Info)
Species: dillenii (dil-LEN-ee-eye) (Info)

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

Click thumbnail
to view:

By SShurgot
Thumbnail #1 of Oxalis dillenii by SShurgot

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #2 of Oxalis dillenii by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #3 of Oxalis dillenii by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #4 of Oxalis dillenii by Jeff_Beck

By Floridian
Thumbnail #5 of Oxalis dillenii by Floridian


1 positive
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Chillybean On Jul 2, 2014, Chillybean from Near Central, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

According to the USDA, this is native to the continental United States.

This alone will now cause me to leave it alone. We are out in the country and surrounded by industrial crops. Once we learn something is a native, we will let it go on our 9 acres of land. We've started noticing deer on our property recently and the above link mentions, this plant is moderately consumed by large mammals. If there is enough of this for them to eat, just maybe they will stay away from the people food gardens.

Negative plant_it On Jun 18, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

This Yellow Wood Sorrel (O. dillenii) is a European introduction to North America. I don't like it simply because it's not native to my area. It has seed capsules on reflexed stalks.

Look-alikes include:
O. stricta - This perennial plant is native to U.S. and Canada and is usually about 6" tall, but sometimes reaches 1' or a little more. There is a central stem that branches occasionally, creating a bushy effect on mature plants. It is often covered with scattered white hairs. The alternate trifoliate leaves have fairly long petioles, and are about " across when fully open. Depending on environmental conditions, they are light green, green, or reddish green, and fold up at night. Occasionally, they fold up in response to intense sunlight during midday.

Floppy umbels of yellow flowers emerge from the leaf axils on long, slightly hairy stalks. Each bell-shaped flower is about " across when fully open, and has 5 petals that flare outward. There are fine lines toward the throat of the flower, which is subtended by 5 green triangular sepals. Sometimes, the throat of the flower is slightly red. Like the leaves, the flowers close-up at night. There is little or no floral scent. The blooming period peaks during late spring or early summer, but continues intermittently until the fall. Plants often become dormant during the hot dry spells of mid- to late summer. The root system consists of a slender branching taproot with numerous secondary roots. This plant spreads by means of mechanical ejection of the seeds from the slightly hairy elongated seed capsules; each capsule splits into 5 sections.

O. grandis - Large Yellow Wood Sorrel has flowers to 1 (2.5 cm) wide and leaves often with purple edges; it is native and grows from Indiana east to Pennsylvania and south to Georgia and Louisiana.

Neutral swamp_thing On Aug 13, 2009, swamp_thing from Lake Arthur, LA wrote:

This plant also grows wild in Louisiana. You can see them in abandoned lotts, with other clover plants.


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

Seaside, California
Centerbrook, Connecticut
Lakeland, Florida
Yale, Iowa
Lake Arthur, Louisiana
Georgetown, Texas
Hondo, Texas

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