Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Oxalidaceae, Wood Sorrel Family

The Oxalidaceae or Wood Sorrel Family is a relatively small family of plants with less than 10 genera consisting of forb/herbs, shrubs and rarely small trees. Wood sorrels, woodsorrels and wood-sorrels are common local and regional names.

The largest genus, Oxalis has more than 500 species. Oxalis species are nearly world-wide in distribution with the greatest number of species occurring in tropical Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Some authors group Oxalis by the color of their flowers such as yellow sorrels and pink sorrels, others call the entire genus the Oxalises. Another common name for this genus is shamrocks because of the leaf shape and color.

The leaves are alternate, either pinnately or palmately compound, stipules absent. Some species of Oxalis have bright green divided or compound leaves often looking look a "shamrock". The leaflets open in day light and close at night. The flowers are bisexual and actinomorphic.

The second largest genus with more than 80 accepted species is Biophytum with annual and perennial herbaceous plants found in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. The Plant List recognizes over 500 accepted species names for this family.

2 genera in continental North America. Averrhoa with 2 species, and Oxalis with 39 species.

  • Oxalis corniculata, Creeping Woodsorrel
  • Oxalis stricta, Common Yellow Oxalis
  • Oxalis alpina, Alpine Woodsorrel
  • Date Family Profile Completed: 03/20/2016
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database. search
    The Plant List (2013.(accessed 03/19/2016)
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Oxalidaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 November 2015, 01:04 UTC,> [accessed 19 March 2016]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Oxalis', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 March 2016, 10:47 UTC,> [accessed 19 March 2016]