Common Names: broadleaf woodsorrel, Mexican oxalis
Family: Oxalidaceae (oxalis or wood-sorrel Family)
Perennial Tolerant of Shade and Low Light Conditions Has Unusual or
Interesting Foliage Flowers
There are more than 800 species of woodsorrels or "shamrocks." Most
have clover-like leaves with three leaflets, sour tasting foliage
(from the oxalic acid), and flowers and leaves that close up at
night. Broadleaf woodsorrel has distinctly triangular leaflets,
white or pinkish flowers with green throats, and grows from a
thickened, bulblike taproot. It has no stems at all. Instead, the
8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm) leaf petioles and flower pedicels arise
directly from the rootstock. The leaflets are like equilateral
triangles, about 2 in (5.1 cm) on a side and smooth bright green.
The five-petaled, funnel-shaped flowers are about 1 in (2.5 cm)
across and borne in loose, open clusters throughout the whole summer
and fall. Broadleaf woodsorrel spreads readily from underground
runners and forms a ground cover in moist, shady areas.
Woodsorrels occur naturally on all continents. Broadleaf woodsorrel
is native originally to Mexico, Central and South America, and the
West Indies, but is now established in much of the tropical and
subtropical world, including Florida where it grows in disturbed,
moist and shady woods. In some situations broadleaf woodsorrel can
be a troublesome weed, but it has not been condemned by the Exotic
Pest Plant folks.
Light: Broadleaf woodsorrel grows well in partial shade.
Moisture: Broadleaf woodsorrel grows best in moisture-retentive
soils with lots of organic matter.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11.
Propagation: Broadleaf woodsorrel spreads by producing little
bulbils on short underground runners from its main bulb. New plants
then come up from the little bulbils. To get new plants, just divide
off the new bulbils.
Broadleaf woodsorrel is a great groundcover in moist, shady areas.
It can be invasive in such situations, but if you have just a small
area that is suitable, then this shamrock is a good choice. It won't
take over a sunny and dry lawn.
Many of the Oxalis species are invasive garden and greenhouse weeds.
Some are cultivated as container and garden ornamentals. One (O.
tuberosa) is grown in the high