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Oxalis corniculata facts for kids

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Oxalis corniculata
Oxalis corniculata23.jpg
Scientific classification
Synonyms
Oxalis.corniculata.7562
Purple leaved variety.

Oxalis corniculata, the creeping woodsorrel, also called procumbent yellow sorrel or sleeping beauty, resembles the common yellow woodsorrel, Oxalis stricta. It is a somewhat delicate-appearing, low-growing, herbaceous plant in the family Oxalidaceae.

Description

It has a narrow, creeping stem that readily roots at the nodes. The trifoliate leaves are subdivided into three rounded leaflets and resemble a clover in shape. Some varieties have green leaves, while others, like Oxalis corniculata var. atropurpurea, have purple. The leaves have inconspicuous stipules at the base of each petiole.

The fruit is a narrow, cylindrical capsule, 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) long, and noteworthy for its explosive discharge of the contained seeds, 1 mm (0.04 in) long. Pollen is about 34 microns in diameter.

O-Corniculata-photo 2019-05-24 14-20-52
Fruit of Oxalis corniculata
O-Corniculata-photo 2019-05-24 14-20-17
Pollen of Oxalis corniculata

Distribution

This species probably comes from southeastern Asia. It was first described by Linnaeus in 1753 using specimens from Italy, and it seems to have been introduced to Italy from the east before 1500. It is now cosmopolitan in its distribution and is regarded as a weed in gardens, agricultural fields, and lawns.

Uses

The leaves of woodsorrel are quite edible, with a tangy taste of lemons. A drink can be made by infusing the leaves in hot water for about 10 minutes, sweetening and then chilling. The entire plant is rich in vitamin C. Any woodsorrel is safe in low dosages, but if eaten in large quantities over a length of time can inhibit calcium absorption by the body.

As a hyperaccumulator of copper, it can be used for phytoremediation. The 1491 Ming Dynasty text, Precious Secrets of the Realm of the King of Xin, describes how to locate underground copper deposits by extracting trace elements of copper from the plant.

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