Violet Wood-Sorrel: Showy and Smart

Violet Wood-Sorrel – Oxalis Violacea. This spectacular flower colored with a vibrant shade of pinkish-purple grows in river bluff forests and beside streams. The flowers stand seven inches above the forest floor and have leaves with three heart-shaped leaflets similar to those of clover but lacking white speckling. As the whole plant is edible, the Apache, Cherokee, Omaha, Pawnee and Ponca Native Americans used it as a source of food. Because the plant contains the mild acid oxalic acid (hence the genus name Oxalis), it should not be consumed in large quantities. The Cherokee and Pawnee Native Americans also used this plant for medicine.

Violet Wood-Sorrel

Violet Wood-Sorrel

Many herbivores neglect this plant because the oxalis acid gives the plant a bitter taste. Often, this plant does much better in an open forest than a forest with a dense canopy. At night, the flowers close and the leaves fold to a vertical position to endure frost and heavy rain damage. How clever is that! This species of wildflower multiplies by seeds and runners. Some birds eat the seeds, helping to spread them. Overall, this is an amazing plant that I love seeing!

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