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Products > Oxalis crassipes
Oxalis crassipes - Pink Wood-Sorel
Image of Oxalis crassipes
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Oxalidaeceae (Wood-sorrels)
Origin: South America
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [Oxalis articulata forma crassipes]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Oxalis crassipes (Pink Wood-Sorel) - An evergreen tuft-forming woody rhizomatous species (not from a bulb or corm) reaching to 10 inches tall and slowly spreading to about 18 inches wide with decorative trifoliate clover-like leaves. In late winter in California gardens (later in cooler climates) emerge, just above the foliage, a profusion of small pink flowers with a dark magenta pink eye. Flowering continues strongly until early summer with some rebloom in the cooler fall - 'Alba', the white form we grow seems to bloom right through summer. Can grow in full coastal sun but looks better in morning sun to light shade and give regular to occasional irrigation. Hardy as a dormant plant to below 0 F and useful to at least USDA Zone 6 and with some say with protection to Zone 5. For us it is evergreen until frosted back. There is a tendency to lump all Oxalis together but this species has never become pesky in our garden and is a favorite plant here and in the southeast. One of my favorite writers on this subject is Scott Ogden who notes in his "Garden Bulbs for the South": "A tough thrifty native of the Argentine pampas, O. crassipes often returns to bloom in fall, persisting through the winter on sheltered sites. This is an invaluable plant for Southern gardens, a prime choice for edging beds or pathways. Its lightly felted, cloverlike leaves make handsome mounds even when not it bloom." It is easy to split and divide clumps if they become too big at any time of the year. This species is native to Argentina and Brazil. The name for the genus is that of Linnaeus from the Greek words 'oxus' (sometimes spelled 'oxys'or 'oxis') meaning "sour" or "acid" which he used when describing Oxalis acetosella. The specific epithet is from the Latins word 'crass' meaning "solid", "thick", "fat" or "dense", the connecting vowel 'i' and 'pes' meaning "foot", likely in reference to the woody rhizome. An interesting early name for Wood-sorrel is Lujula, which was thought to be a corruption of the word Allelujah (Hallelujah) or "praise the lord" and so named for this plant's many virtues with leaves of the Trefoil, the taste of Sorrel (a Dock or Rumex) and flowers like a Geranium. Of course as a kid we just called them all sourgrass! Most recent treatment of the this species has lumped it with Oxalis articulata as Oxalis articulata forma crassipes (or O. articulata ssp. rubra forma crassipes) but we continue to list it just as Oxalis crassipes as this is the name most commonly used. Our thanks to garden designer Dan Tyson for encouraging us to grow this great little plant. 

This information about Oxalis crassipes displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.