Common yellow wood-sorrel

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Oxalis stricta L.; also O. europaea Jord.

Common name(s): common yellow wood-sorrel, common yellow oxalis, yellow wood-sorrel, upright yellow-sorrel, lemon clover, sourgrass

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile , NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

– leaves taste lemony, close in the evening

-leaves are

  • compound
  • alternate
  • entire
  • rounded-oblong

-can grow up to 20 inches tall

-fruit capsules explode seeds away from the plant

– generally flowers June to August in Maine

– may be confused with O. dillenii, which has flowers/seed capsules on pedicels which curve downward, or O. florida; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage


-disturbed sites

-meadows and fields

Natural History:

-the flowers and leaves are edible

-The Iroquois and Kiowa used this species for medical treatments



Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Go Botany. “Oxalis Stricta L.” Oxalis Stricta (Common Yellow Wood Sorrel): Go Botany, 2021,

Michigan State University. “Yellow Woodsorrel – Oxalis Stricta.” Plant & Pest Diagnostics,