Purple Wood Sorrel OR''

Purple Wood Sorrel OR''

Purple Wood Sorrel

This is an erect, delicate plant up to 16 inches tall. The long-stemmed leaves grow from the base and at first are longer than the flowering stem. They are divided into 3 leaflets, gray-green to bluish-gray above and green to reddish-purple below, but similar in structure to those of O. dillenii. Like those of all wood sorrels the leaves fold downward, together, at night and in cloudy weather. There are 4-19 flowers at the end of each stem, lavender to pinkish-purple, the eye of the flower usually a deeper purple. The wide-spreading petal-like lobes are 1/2-3/4 inch long. There are 5 petals and 10 stamens.


Native to North America, Oxalis violacea (Violet Wood Sorrel) is a bulbous perennial boasting lavender to pinkish-purple flowers adorned with greenish throats from mid spring to early summer. The charming blossoms are borne in clusters of 4-19 flowers at the end of slender stems. They rise above the beautiful foliage of green clove-like leaves which is reddish-purple underneath. Violet Wood Sorrel often flowers again in the fall after the leaves have died. Like those of all wood sorrels, the leaves fold downward at night and in cloudy weather. Easy to cultivate and maintain, this plant creeps underground by runners from its bulbs. An important spring wildflower in prairie restorations or woodland gardens, it can also be naturalized in lawns.Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea) of the Wood Sorrel (Oxalidaceae) family is a small bulb-plant that bears shamrock-style leaves. The genus name is based on a Greek word for “acid”, in reference to the plant’s pleasantly sour taste. The specific epithet is Latin for “violet-colored”, referring to the flowers. It is found across the eastern U.S. from Texas to North Dakota to the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, with the exception of Maine and New Hampshire.

In Arkansas, the species occurs throughout the state. It grows in a wide variety of sunny to partially sunny sites and in a wide range of well-drained loamy to rocky or sandy soils of open upland deciduous and conifer woodlands, glades and prairies.Violet wood sorrel has scale-covered bulbs* that are up to ½ inch long and ¼ inch wide, just below soil surface. Mature bulbs feel spongy. Scales, growing from a small basal plate within the bulb, loosely surround the central growth point that produces leaves and inflorescences at the bulb’s apex. Outer scales deteriorate into a loose matted layer that covers the inner, lanceolate to triangular scales. The light orange-colored scales have three straight prominent outer veins. The underside of the basal plate produces thin fibrous roots that extend downward along with thin, short, near-surface stolons that bear single bulbils (aka bulblets) at their tips. Bulbils also develop directly from the basal plate. In favorable sites, a single bulb quickly develops multiple offset bulbs and, with quick multiplication, may form a tight clonal group of numerous bulbs of “all” sizes. Within a clonal group, one to several bulbs may grow a vertically positioned, icicle-like rhizome that replaces the bulb. In addition to rapid propagation by cloning, plants readily multiply by seed. (Source:anps.org)



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