Oxalis violacea

violet wood-sorrel, violet woodsorrel, purple woodsorrel


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Type

compound, trifoliolate

Growth Form


Flower Color

pink, purple, white

Flower Month

March - October

Height (meters)

0.1 - 0.4

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Cultural Information

Seeds are difficult to find on this species. Steffen (1997) recommends cold/moist stratification before planting. The bulbs can be divided in the spring and replanted. Once established wood-sorrel spreads by runners.

Animal Use

The following information is for the genus Oxalis: Animals that eat the seeds, leaves, and bulbs: Ground dove, Mourning dove, Bobwhite quail, Painted bunting, Horned lark, Field sparrow, Eastern grasshopper sparrow, Tree sparrow. Animals that eat the plant: Cottontail rabbit, Deer, White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951).

Natural History

The common name sorrel usually refers to a plant with sour juice. Oxalis is the Greek word for sour. The leaves, flowers, and bulbs are eaten raw or cooked in the spring or fall. Raw leaves contain oxalates which if eaten in too large a quantity can cause stomach upset and tie up calcium in the body. The parts of this plant taste sour or lemony and can be included in salads, cooked greens or even steamed with fish to add a tart flavor. An old scout manual recommends chewing the leaves to relieve thirst. It contains significant amounts of vitamin A. Grows in sandy soil of pinelands and dry, gravelly soils of open oak woods and grassy-brushy slopes, sometimes on rock outcrops, in the north and western parts of Louisiana and the eastern fourth of Texas.


Sandy soil in pinelands and dry gravelly soils of open oak woods and grassy-brushy slopes, sometimes on rock outcrops, prairies, roadsides, waste places.