Weeds

Sorrel, Wood

(Oxalis, shamrock, Mountain Wood Sorrel)

Sorrel, Wood
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Wood sorrel is unusual in that it might actually be better known by the Latin name for its genus, Oxalis. There are several Oxalis species; the most common as a lawn weed is Yellow Wood sorrel with Creeping Wood sorrel a close second. Yellow Wood sorrel grows throughout the U.S. while Creeping Wood sorrel grows in the eastern U.S. to North Dakota and Colorado. The leaves of Oxalis are often mistaken for clover but upon closer inspection are distinctively heart shaped and may be green to reddish purple. Yellow Oxalis is a summer annual that in some climates can be perennial. Wood sorrel grows on weak stems that branch at the base and may root at the nodes. The flower is yellow with five petals and occurs in clusters. The seed pods range from ½-1 inch in length, have 5 ridges and are pointed. Oxalis spreads by seeds which may be spread several feet when the pod bursts open at maturity. Creeping Wood sorrel is very similar in description except that it is perennial. Sound management including regular fertilization and proper insect and disease control will reduce the incidence of Oxalis and because it can cause nutritional deficiencies, it is recommended to keep wood sorrel from growing in fields where their livestock graze. It can also found in open woods, prairies, ravines, stream banks, and lawns.