Many of our common weeds and herbs are transplants from colonial settlements, but Oxalis Stricta, or common yellow wood sorrel is native to North America. It’s a beautiful summer plant often mistaken for clover. It grows to an average of 10 inches tall and enjoys partial shade. Has three heart shaped leaves and dainty five petalled yellow flowers.
The name Oxalis hints at it’s oxalic acid content, the same compound found in spinach and broccoli that leads dietitians to warn against excessive amounts. Large quantities can be toxic due to it’s ability to prevent the absorption of calcium. Just as many other things in life, moderation is key, and there is no concern if eaten with a varied diet. However, folks with conditions that react to oxalic acid, such as gout, kidney stones, rheumatism etc, should steer clear.
All parts of the plant are edible, leaves, blossoms, seed pods, and roots. It’s high vitamin C content led to it’s historical use for preventing scurvy on long sea voyages. Wood Sorrel has a wonderfully tart lemon flavor that pairs well with chicken and fish dishes. Could also make a refreshing “lemonade” with it. I use a 2:1 ratio. Example: 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of wood sorrel. I love just to snack on it as we walk through the garden. Also is a great addition to salads, stuffings, sandwiches, wraps, and so much more! Happy harvesting!