The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition
Leaves - raw or cooked
. A delicious lemony flavour, the leaves make a refreshing, thirst-quenching munch and are also added to salads, soups, sauces etc
. This leaf should be used in moderation
, see the notes above on toxicity.
Flowers - raw. A decorative addition to salads[K].
The dried plant can be used as a curdling agent for plant milks
The juice of the leaves removes iron mould stains from linen
Plants can be grown as a ground cover in woodland or under the shade of shrubs
. They should be spaced about 45cm apart each way
The fresh or dried leaves are anodyne, antiscorbutic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, irritant and stomachic
. A decoction is used in the treatment of fevers, both to quench the thirst and allay the fever
. Externally, the leaves are crushed and applied locally to dispel boils and abscesses, they also have an astringent affect on wounds
. When used internally, some caution is advised due to the oxalic acid content of the leaves
, the plant is contra-indicated for people suffering from gastritis or a calculus condition
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in late spring or early summer.
Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Oxalis acetosella. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Prefers moist shady conditions and a humus rich soil in shade or dappled sunlight
. Dislikes very heavy and wet soils
Plants are hardy to about -25°c.
A dainty woodland carpeter growing well in a woodland or wild garden.
When well sited the plants can run aggressively and also self-sow
. The plant flowers in early spring, but does not produce much fertile seed at this time. Most of the fertile seed is produced from cleistogamous flowers during the summer
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Oxalis acetosella. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Oxalis acetosella.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
? 3.03.13.23.33.43.5 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
? 5.05.15.2 Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
? 6.06.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
? 7.07.17.27.18.104.22.168 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
? 8.08.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
? 10.010.1 Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
? 11.011.111.211.3 Freethy. R. From Agar to Zenery. The Crowood Press ISBN 0-946284-51-2 (1985-00-00)
? 12.012.1 Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (1979-00-00)
? 13.013.1 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
? 14.014.114.214.3 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
? 15.015.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
? Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
? 18.018.118.2 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 19.019.119.2 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
? Knight. F. P. Plants for Shade. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0-900629-78-9 (1980-00-00)
"image:Common wood sorrel (aka).jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.