Creeping Oxalis or yellow wood-sorrel, Oxalis corniculata

Creeping Oxalis or yellow wood-sorrel, Oxalis corniculata

Some of my blog entries will feature weeds or other plants that are common to my region.
Recently I listened to a discussion on local radio about the weed, Creeping Oxalis, and its control and thought you might like to learn more about it too.
Creeping Oxalis or yellow wood-sorrel, Oxalis corniculata , is a small perennial plant which grows producing prostrate, creeping stems and a woody tap root and is typically found in lawns or bare soil areas around perennial garden plants. Creeping Oxalis sets many viable seeds. Unlike other Oxalis species it doesn’t form underground bulbs. It is a native of Europe.
The leaves are trifoliate, of three inverted heart shaped leaflets on short leaf stalks or petioles, which make up each leaf. Small yellow flowers with 5 petals form during spring and summer which develop into a pod full of many seeds which spread by the pods dehiscing in late summer. Seeds can be flung 750mm high and possibly a metre from the parent plant.
Creeping Oxalis is usually found in low fertility dry soils but can tolerate poorly drained or more fertile soils and readily invades turf situations.
Creeping Oxalis is difficult to control using traditional herbicides, especially without doing damage to lawn areas or other plants. Herbicides do not usually kill the tap root from which the plant will reappear the next season. Healthy turf situations can help prevent invasion of this species, therefore a strong well watered lawn on a good loam soil is needed. Make sure the lawn is not mown too short, and that it isn’t too acidic which can be remedied by adding lime and feed using an animal manure.
Creeping Oxalis can be managed by digging out individual plants before they flower and set seed.
Acknowledgement and References: The thoughts and observations about this plant are my own. I do have a small reference library on weeds and plants and at times will refer to them for extra information. They include JN Whittet’s Weeds; NCW Beadle’s UNE Students Flora of NE NSW (Parts I-VI); WT Parsons and EG Cuthbertson’s Noxious Weeds of Australia; M McKemey and H White’s Bush Tucker, Boomerangs and Bandages; TG Hungerford’s Diseases of Livestock and H Greenish’s Materia Medica. At times I may undertake an internet investigation to update a plant’s botanical name. Unless otherwise advised, I have taken the photographs myself.

Why I Garden


I consider myself an average person trying to supply enough things from our garden to satisfy all our family’s needs as well as have some to share and give away.

I live near Tamworth, NSW, Australia in a valley which is reasonably protected from many of the extremes experienced more on the plains, however, some of our winter frosts spill from the New England Tablelands being brought by katabatic winds.  As a result, some of our gardening techniques have been adapted to get more due to the colder starts and shorter sunlit days.

Our latitude is 31°S and being a couple of hundred kilometres inland, our climatic circumstances would equal many across inland temperate Australia away from the coastal influence with a reasonable winter and summer rainfall distribution.  The winter temperatures can go as low as -10° on a frosty morning and into the low 40°s during summer afternoons.  Although we live in a 670mm rainfall zone, the rain can be irregular meaning we cannot successfully garden without some form of irrigation set up using both stored fresh rainwater and have access to bore water.

My working career ended abruptly in mid 2000 with serious illness which meant some major changes in my life.  I have concerns with numerous allergies so have had to take control of the things I associate with or take into my body to relieve symptoms and try to retrieve some of my previous health and hopefully improve it with time.

I have always had an intense interest in gardening from about age four, both with annual and perennial plants and over my life have been involved with developing quite a few gardens.  I love to create then recycle as many nutrients as is possible in my garden.  I grow things out of season and eat out of season too!  My experiences have been accumulating so that now I feel confident to be able to share many of these things including when to plant and harvest.  Hopefully I can tell you things which you can’t find written in the text books and things the experts forget to tell you.

I was trained in agronomy and botany so my love of plants will become evident as time goes by.  I started collecting weed samples when I was 10 and my working career was involved with weed control so over the years I developed a broad knowledge of plant identification and control methods for weeds while encouraging favourable plants.

As earth’s resources rapidly diminish I have become even more aware for the need to become sustainable in all our endeavours, so we employ various photovoltaic apparatus’ and tweak our home environment to reduce our carbon footprint.

I enjoy life and with it being fairly restricted I hope you appreciate where I am coming from and the things I can share with you.