Oxalis, a tart and tasty weed

You would have to be in the Artic to get away from Oxalis, there are over 850 varieties growing all around the world.  Oxalis is the largest genus in the wood-sorrel family.  Commonly called Oxalis, Sorrel or Sourgrass here in the south.

Oxalis is commonly mistaken for clover. They have 3 heart shaped leaves and they grow in bunches that are about 6 inches high.  In Florida they can have pink flowers or yellow flowers like the ones pictured here growing in my flower bed. Oxalis flowers have 5 petals.  The seed pods remind me of tiny okra.

I first learned about these as a boy in Kentucky.  My friends and I would commonly eat Oxalis when we found them growing around the farm.  We called them “sweeties” because of the sweet & sour taste.

In Dr. James Duke’s “Handbook of Edible Weeds,” he notes that the Kiowa Indian tribe chewed wood sorrel to alleviate thirst on long trips, that the Potawatomi Indians cooked it with sugar to make a dessert, the Algonquin Indians considered it an aphrodisiac, the Cherokee ate wood sorrel to alleviate mouth sores and a sore throat, and the Iroquois ate wood sorrel to help with cramps, fever and nausea.

The whole plant is edible: roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds. They can be used in a salad, used as a spice for fish and chicken or you can blend some up with water and honey for a cool summer tea.

I find that most gardeners think Oxalis is a nasty weed they hate to find in the garden or lawn. Once established, it is hard to get rid of.  When I find Oxalis in my garden or lawn, I am happy to pull some of this great plant for a tasty treat.

Oxalis is a great plant to have growing at the 40 acre woods.

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2 Responses to Oxalis, a tart and tasty weed

  1. Hi there! This article could not be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I am going to send this article
    to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

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