Wood Sorrel
• Legend and Lore • In the Garden

Oxalis spp.


  • Native to Eastern North America
  • Perennial- Zone 3
  • Low growing - 8cm
  • Woodlands and mountains
  • Blooms in the summer

Legend and Lore

Pale green leaves composed of 3 leaflets on a long petiole resembling a shamrock. Yellow flowers composed of 5 petals. It is believed that this is the original plant used by St Patrick to illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Clover (Trifolium) and Wood Sorrel are interchangeable in this legend.

In Greek Oxys is sour, for the taste of this herb, which contains a high concentration of oxalic acid, halis for the salt. On record since the fourteenth century and used as a major sauce herb until the introduction of French Sorrel (Rumex sculatus)

In the Garden

Prefers humus rich soil, light sandy, medium loamy and woodland but also found in gardens and in waste land, can grow in semi to full shade – considered a weed in Ontario. Hardy to Zone 3, the flowers are hermaphrodite (both female and male organs on the same plant) self fertile and also pollinated by bees.

In the Kitchen