Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Oxalis corniculata L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and flowers. © CSIRO
Habit, leaves and flowers. ©
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Linnaeus, C. (1753) Species Plantarum 1: 435. Type: Habitat in Italia, Sicilia.

Common name

Yellow Wood Sorrel


Annuals or short-lived perennials. Stems to 50 cm but often shorter, creeping, ascending to semierect, variably pubescent with adpressed simple hairs. Rootstock a slender taproot, sometimes woody; stems several, freely rooting at nodes in contact with soil; stolons absent. Stipules small, rectangular to auriculate.


Leaves alternate or pseudoverticillate; petiole 1-8(-13) cm, hairy; leaflet blades obcordate, 0.3-1.8 × 0.4-2.3 cm, green or suffused purplish red, variably adaxially and abaxially pubescent, apex deeply emarginate, incised to half way.


Inflorescences umbellate, (2-)1-5(-7)-flowered; peduncle usually slightly longer than petioles; bracts linear-lanceolate, 2-4 × ca. 1 mm. Pedicel 4-15(-20) mm, deflexed or horizontal in fruit, densely strigose. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, 3.5-5 × 1.2-2 mm, margin ciliate especially at apex. Petals bright yellow, oblong-obovate, 6-8 × 3-4 mm. Filaments fused at base. Ovary puberulous.


Capsule long cylindric, 8-25 × 2-3 mm, 5-sided, strigose with abundant simple hairs and a few septate hairs on dehiscence sutures. Seeds brown to brownish red, glossy, 5-14 seeds per locule, ovoid-oblong, 1-1.5 × 0.8-1 mm, flattened, with prominent transversely ridges and tubercles.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Victoria and Tasmania. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1160 m. Grows along paths in rainforest, Eucalypt forest, various types of woodland and in wooded grassland.

Natural History & Notes

A weed of cultivation, gardens, lawns and disturbed ground; a declared noxious weed. Toxic to livestock (Webb 1948).

RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.