Oxalis violacea

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: violet wood sorrel 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Oxalidaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Pink, lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. A true, scale-covered bulb which should be planted in fall. Can spread somewhat rapidly by runners from the bulbs to form large colonies in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Oxalis violacea, commonly called violet wood sorrel, is a common Missouri native wildflower which occurs state-wide in dryish, acidic soils on glades, rocky open woods, fields and prairies. A bulbous, stemless perennial typically growing 4-8" tall in which the long-stemmed leaves and longer, leafless flower stalks rise directly from the bulb. The familiar clover-like leaves have three inversely heart-shaped, often center-creased, green leaflets which are purplish beneath. Variably-colored, 5-petaled flowers (ranging from white to pink to lavender to violet) with greenish throats appear in spring. A repeat bloom will sometimes occur in the fall with the return of cooler weather. Although the leaves have a sour taste, they make a zesty and interesting addition to salads.

The genus name Oxalis comes from the Greek word oxys meaning "acid", "sour" or "sharp", in reference to the taste of the leaves.

Specific epithet means violet.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Rock gardens, border fronts, native plant gardens or naturalized plantings.