Archive for the ‘Family: Wood Sorrel’ Category

Growing up we called these plants ‘sweet and sours’.  We were taught early on that we could eat the leaves, they were easy to spot and not easily mistaken for something that could be harmful.  Wood sorrels grow everywhere and their season is long – May through October.  These ones I found in the yard are Oxalis europaea.  A similar species, Oxalis stricta, has pods that are bent at the stalks at a sharp angle, which is absent in these sorrels.

Yellow Wood Sorrel, Massachusetts, USA

Notice the heart-shaped leaves, 5 yellow petals and the seed pods. Other species have pink or red flowers and pods are angled differently.

My ‘Edible Wild Plants’ Peterson Field Guide says that these plants can be used in salads to give a bit of a sour taste.  You can also make a drink by steeping the leaves for 10 minutes in hot water, chill it and add sugar or honey.  Sorrels provide a lot of vitamin C.  But the book warns that you shouldn’t consume too much because it may inhibit the absorption of calcium by the body.  These plants contain a lot of oxalic acid.

Yellow Wood Sorrel, Massachusetts, USA

I went for a walk in the yard after the sun went down and noticed that the wood sorrel’s flowers closed at night.  Although these pictures aren’t much to see, I was happy to capture how the flowers change at night.

Yellow Wood Sorrel, Massachusetts, USA

Like dandelions, these wild flowers are considered weeds and are just as common.  I am especially attached to them because it reminds me of exploring nature as a young child and feeling like my knowledge of this tasty ‘sweet and sour’ plant was special.

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