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.

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