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Oxalis stricta is a herbaceous plant grows as both a perennial and annual. Erect when young, this plant later becomes decumbent as it lays down, and branches regularly. It is not to be confused with similar plants which are also often referred to as “yellow woodsorrel”.
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Leaves: Arranged alternately along the stem, long-petiolated, and divided into 3 heart-shaped leaflets. Leaf margins are smooth but fringed with hairs.
Stems: Green to pink, weak, branched at base, more prostrate than erect to 20 inches tall, varying from smooth to pubescent.
Roots: Long, slender rhizomes occur with a fibrous root system.
Flowers: Occur in clusters that arise from long stalks at the leaf axils. Individual flowers consist of 5 yellow petals that are 4 to 9 mm long.
Fruit: A capsule that is cylindrical and pointed with flat sides, sparsely hairy. Each capsule is approximately 3/4 inch long. Seed disperse from capsules by explosively ejecting up to 13 feet from the parent plant.
Commonly considered 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 (exhibiting 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 or fruits of plants found in the genus Impatiens) and can disperse seeds up to 4 meters (about 13 feet) away. The flowers of the plant are hermaphroditic, blooming from July to October.
Identifying Characteristics: A weed of greenhouses and ornamentals with leaves that are divided into 3 heart-shaped leaflets with small yellow flowers. Yellow woodsorrel may be distinguished from Creeping Red Woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) by the presence of underground rhizomes versus the aboveground stolons of creeping red woodsorrel. Also, creeping woodsorrel has a more prostrate growth habit and often has more reddish-purple leaves than yellow woodsorrel.
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
The leaves and flowers 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. The green pods are pleasant raw, having a juicy crisp texture and a tartness similar to rhubarb in flavour.
The leaves can be used to make a flavored drink that is similar in taste to lemonade, 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.
Oxalis stricta contains large amounts of vitamin c.
Medicinally, in moderate dosages, wood sorrel is cooling (refrigerant, febrifuge), diuretic, stomachic (soothing to the stomach, relieves indigestion), astringent, and catalytic. It’s also attributed with blood cleansing properties and is sometimes taken by cancer patients. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat swellings.An infusion of the plant hason of the plant has been used in the treatment of fevers, stomach cramps and nause been used in the treatment of fevers, stomach cramps and nausea.
Other uses: An orange dye can be obtained by boiling the whole plant.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider
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