Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Oxalidaceae >>> Oxalis corniculata

Creeping Wood-sorrel

Oxalis corniculata

photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in an urban garden in Glendale, Arizona, USA, April 2009.

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HERBACEOUS PERENNIAL: With the mild winter temperatures in the Sonoran Desert this urban garden weed survives year to year upon a fleshy taproot. The plants are rarely more than a few cm tall growing along the ground rooting at the nodes to spread.

LEAVES: Compound leaves have usu. three heart-shaped leaflets radially arranged. Leaves contain oxalic acid, source of edible tartness, but toxic in quantity. Color may range to maroon or purple.

FLOWERS: Yellow five-petaled flowers are small, but very bright.

RANGE: Found throughout North America, but in the Sonoran Desert it is rare occurring only in very mesic habitats but commonly in over-watered gardens.

FRUIT: Erect fleshy fruits dry and then pop open explosively to disperse the seeds.


Oxalidaceae -- Wood Sorrel Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
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Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009