Herbs & Plants

Oxalis pes-caprae

Botanical Name: Oxalis pes-caprae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Oxalidales
Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis
Species: O. pes-caprae

*Acetosella cernua (Thunb.) Kuntze
*Acetosella ehrenbergii (Schltdl.) Kuntze
*Bolboxalis cernua (Thunb.) Small
*Oxalis biflora Burm.f.
*Oxalis burmanni Jacq.
*Oxalis caprina E.Mey. ex Sond.
*Oxalis cernua Thunb.
*Oxalis cernua var. pleniflora Lowe

Common Names: Bermuda buttercup; Buttercup oxalis; Sour grass

Habitat: Oxalis pes-caprae is native to the West coast of South Africa. It grows on roadsides and grassy places in S. Africa]. Occasionally naturalized in S.W. England but it does not flower there.

The Oxalis pes-caprae is a small perennjial herb. It’s flower is actinomorphic, with a calyx composed of five free or slightly fused sepals, a sympetalous corolla composed of five fused petals, an androecium composed of ten free stamens in two ranks, and a compound pistil. Native populations in South Africa are heterostylous, flowers of long-styled plants have a stigma held above the two ranks of stamens, mid-styled plants have the stigma in between the two ranks of stamens and short-styled plants have a stigma below both ranks of stamen. In the non-native range the plants largely reproduce vegetatively and many populations have only one style length and the plants never produce seed. Like most African Oxalis species, it produces adventitious subterranean propagules. These take the form of true bulbs in botanical terms, which is unusual among dicotyledons. In fact, Oxalis pes-caprae produces small bulbs copiously, whereas most other African species produce fewer, larger bulbs. New world Oxalis, such as Oxalis corniculata, apparently do not generally produce bulbs.


*Choose a semi sunny location.
*Till the soil and add organic matter to enrich it. …
*Plant oxalis bulbs 3-4 inches apart.
*Water well.

  • Fertilize once a month during the growing season with half strength all purpose plant food.
  • Edible Uses:
    Leaves are edible, eaten – raw or cooked. A pleasant acid flavour, the make a pleasant addition to mixed salads, whilst children especially like to eat them on their own. Use in moderation, see notes at the bottom of sheet. Flowers are eaten- raw. A pleasant acid flavour, they make an attractive addition to the salad bowl. Root is cooked and eaten .
  • Medicinal Uses:
    The plant has been used in various ways as a source of oxalic acid, as food, and in folk medicine. The raw bulbs have been used to deal with tapeworm and possibly other worms.

Other Uses:
. The lateral underground runners, which tend to be fleshy, have been eaten raw or boiled and served with milk. The golden petals can be used to produce a yellow dye.

Known Hazards:
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.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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