Oxalis Acetosella ( Oxalis Acetosella)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Fascinating World of Oxalis Acetosella

by Plant Scientist

What is “Oxalis Acetosella”?

Introduction to Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Acetosella)

Wood Sorrel, scientifically known as Oxalis Acetosella, is a charming perennial plant that belongs to the Oxalidaceae family. This delightful plant is also known by several other common names, including Common Wood Sorrel, Sourgrass, False Shamrock, Irish Clover, and Lucky Shamrock. The Oxalis Acetosella species is recognized for its distinctive foliage and dainty white flowers that add a touch of elegance to any garden or natural setting.

Key Takeaways – Oxalis Acetosella

  • Scientific Name: Oxalis Acetosella
  • Common Names: Wood Sorrel, Common Wood Sorrel, Sourgrass, False Shamrock, Irish Clover, Lucky Shamrock
  • Family: Oxalidaceae
  • Type: Perennial
  • Foliage: Clover-shaped leaves
  • Flowers: Delicate white or pale pink flowers
  • Attributes: Wood Sorrel is known for its oxalic acid content, which gives it a sour taste and is considered as folklore to bring good luck.



The Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Acetosella) is a versatile plant, celebrated for its numerous uses, including both practical and aesthetic purposes. Here are some key uses of this delightful plant:

  • Culinary Uses: Wood Sorrel is used in cooking and as an ingredient in salads, soups, and sauces due to its slightly sour taste, which adds a unique flavor to culinary creations.
  • Medicinal Properties: In traditional medicine, Wood Sorrel has been used for its medicinal properties, believed to have various health benefits including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties.
  • Folklore and Symbolism: Wood Sorrel has been etched into folklore and is often associated with good luck, happiness, and love.


When it comes to watering the Wood Sorrel, it is essential to maintain a balanced and consistent watering routine. The plants should be watered regularly, ensuring that the soil is kept moist but not waterlogged. During hot and dry periods, it is crucial to provide the plant with sufficient water to prevent dehydration, especially as Wood Sorrel tends to thrive in moist environments.


Wood Sorrel is a shade-loving plant that prefers partial to full shade. It is essential to provide the plant with a shaded environment, especially during the hottest part of the day, as excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause the delicate leaves to wilt and scorch.


While Wood Sorrel is not particularly demanding when it comes to fertilization, providing a balanced and gentle fertilizer can contribute to its overall health and vigor. A slow-release, organic fertilizer applied in spring can provide the plant with the necessary nutrients to support healthy growth and blooming.


Wood Sorrel thrives in moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A slightly acidic to neutral pH soil is preferred, and the addition of compost or peat moss can aid in retaining moisture and enhancing the soil structure, providing an optimal growing environment for this delicate perennial.


Pruning is a crucial aspect of Wood Sorrel care, as it contributes to the plant’s overall vigor and appearance. Regular deadheading of spent blooms helps to promote continuous flowering and prevents the plant from expending energy on seed production. Additionally, removing any damaged or diseased foliage can help maintain the plant’s health and aesthetics.


Wood Sorrel can be easily propagated through several methods, including:

  • Division: Dividing clumps of Wood Sorrel allows for the creation of new plants, ensuring the continuation of this delightful species.
  • Seeds: Collecting and sowing seeds can be a rewarding way to propagate Wood Sorrel, providing an opportunity to observe the plant’s lifecycle from germination to maturity.
  • Bulblets: Some varieties of Wood Sorrel produce small bulblets, which can be carefully removed and planted to establish new plants.

Container Popularity

The enchanting qualities of Wood Sorrel make it a popular choice for container gardening. Its compact size and delicate appearance add a touch of elegance to outdoor and indoor spaces, while its low maintenance requirements make it an ideal choice for container plantings.

Container Common Diseases

When cultivating Wood Sorrel in containers, it is important to be mindful of potential diseases that may affect the plant. Some common diseases to be aware of include:

  • Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease can affect Wood Sorrel, appearing as a white powdery substance on the leaves, compromising the plant’s health and aesthetics if left untreated.
  • Leaf Spot: Leaf spot diseases can manifest as discolored spots or lesions on the foliage, impacting the plant’s overall appearance and vigor.

Disease Diagnosis

Recognizing and addressing diseases promptly is crucial in maintaining the health of Wood Sorrel. Regular inspection of the plant for any signs of disease, including changes in leaf color, texture, or the presence of unusual markings, can aid in early diagnosis and treatment.

Common Pests

While Wood Sorrel is relatively resilient to pests, it may be susceptible to the following common pests:

  • Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects can infest the plant, feeding on the sap and causing damage to the foliage.
  • Spider Mites: These tiny pests can affect the plant, leaving behind webbing and causing discoloration and stunted growth.

Botanist’s Tips

Maintaining the health and vitality of Wood Sorrel can be achieved by adhering to the following botanist’s tips:

  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly inspect the plant for signs of stress, disease, or pest infestations, allowing for prompt intervention if issues arise.
  • Consistent Care: Providing the plant with a balanced regimen of water, sunlight, and nutrients is essential in supporting its overall health and resilience.
  • Prudent Pruning: Engage in regular pruning and deadheading to encourage continuous blooming and maintain the plant’s appearance.

Fun Facts

  • Wood Sorrel is known for its edible properties, with its slightly sour leaves adding a tangy flavor to dishes.
  • Despite its delicate appearance, Wood Sorrel is surprisingly resilient and can thrive in various environments, from woodlands to gardens.

Links to External Resources

  1. The Plant List: Oxalis Acetosella
  2. Royal Horticultural Society: Wood Sorrel

In this blog post, we delved into the fascinating world of Oxalis Acetosella, exploring its uses, care requirements, propagation methods, and more. Whether cultivated in gardens or containers, this charming perennial plant continues to enchant plant enthusiasts with its delightful foliage and graceful presence.

Remember, when considering the cultivation of Wood Sorrel, always refer to local gardening experts or resources for specific guidance tailored to your regional climate and conditions.

The diversity of uses and folklore associated with Wood Sorrel reflects the rich cultural significance and botanical nuances of this captivating plant. As we continue to appreciate and cultivate Wood Sorrel, we are reminded of the enduring charm and allure of this beloved botanical treasure.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.