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Oxalis stricta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Oxalidales
Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis
Species: O. stricta
Binomial name
Oxalis stricta
L.
Synonyms

Oxalis europaea Jord.
Oxalis fontana Bunge

Oxalis stricta, the common yellow woodsorrel, common yellow oxalis, upright yellow-sorrel, lemon clover or more ambiguously and informally "sourgrass"[1] or simply "yellow woodsorrel" is a herbaceous plant[2] native to North America, parts of Eurasia, and has a rare introduction in Britain.[3] It tends to grow in woodlands, meadows, and in disturbed areas as both a perennial and annual.[4] Erect when young, this plant later becomes decumbent as it lays down, and branches regularly. It is not to be confused with the similar plant, Oxalis corniculata, the creeping woodsorrel.

Contents

Growth

Commonly a weed of gardens, fields, and lawns, it grows in full sun or shade. The alternate leaves of this plant are divided into three heart-shaped leaflets (a typical trait of other species of Oxalis) that can grow up to 2 cm wide. These leaves curl up at night (nyctinasty), and open in the day to perform photosynthesis. The mature seed capsules open explosively when disturbed (a very similar trait to that of the mature seed capsules/fruits of plants found in the genus Impatiens). The flowers of the plant are hermaphroditic, blooming from July to October.

O. stricta generally requires dry or moist, alkaline soils, preferring sandy and loamy dirt to grow in. It requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor grounds. It does not do well in shade.[3]

Cultivation

Culinary uses

A diagram showing various parts of young O. stricta plants

All parts of the plant are edible,[3] with a distinct tangy flavor (as is common in all plants in the genus Oxalis).

Oxalis stricta, showing seed pods.

The leaves, flowers, and pods of the plant are sometimes added to salads for decoration and flavoring. These can also be chewed raw (along with other parts of the plant, but not the root) as a thirst quencher.[3]

The leaves can be used to make a flavored drink that is similar in taste to lemonade,[3] and the whole plant can be brewed as a tisane that has an aroma somewhat like that of cooked green beans.

The juices of the plant have been extracted from its greens as a substitute to common vinegar.

Practical uses

An orange dye can be obtained by boiling the whole plant.[3]

Medicinal uses

Oxalis stricta contains large amounts of vitamin c, allowing it to, with enough intake, help prevent diseases and medical conditions such as scurvy, hypertension, vasodilation, diabetes mellitus, and the common cold; as well as help reduce the risks of stroke, certain types of cancer, and cataracts.[5]

Also, an infusion of the plant has been used to treat fevers, stomach cramps and nausea. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat swellings.[3]

External links

See also

References








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