Plants of
South Australia
Oxalis perennans
Native Oxalis,
Native Sorrel,
Grassland Wood-sorrel
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 11

Common names

Native Oxalis

Native Sorrel

Grassland Wood-sorrel


Oxalis from the Greek 'oksos' meaning sour; referring to the taste of the leaves and stems caused by the oxalic acid, especially the flowering stalks of Oxalis pes-caprae. Perennans from the Latin 'per' meaning through and 'annus' meaning year; referring to the perennial nature of the species.

Distribution and status

Found across South Australia, especially in the southern part, growing in a very wide range of habitats. Also found in all states (and New Zealand). Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial herb to 30 cm high with erect, ascending or sometimes creeping stems above ground but rarely rooting at nodes, sparsely to densely hairy. Leaves cauline with 3 leaflet, which are cuneate-obcordate, to 15 mm long and wide, green, bilobed, glabrous to pubescent above, pubescent or hairs confined to midrib below. Inflorescence 1-6 yellow flowers per stalk held above the leaves. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are pale brown cylindrical capsule to 30 mm long and 2.5 mm diameter, densely hairy.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect capsules before they are fully matured, those turning pale brown and contain hard seeds. When fully mature, the capsules bust open explosive dispersing the seeds up to a few metres from the parent. Place the capsules in a tray and cover with newspaper to prevent the seeds from flying out as the capsule dries. Then rub the capsules gently with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place