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Oxalis pes-caprae

Higher Taxonomy
Family: OxalidaceaeView Description 

Habit: Annual, perennial herb [vine, shrub, tree]. Leaf: compound (palmate [pinnate, or leaflet 1]), alternate, often +- basal in rosettes or at stem or rhizome tips in clusters, generally petioled, stipules generally 0, leaflets generally sessile. Inflorescence: cyme, umbel- or raceme-like or not, or flowers 1, generally in axils; peduncle bracted. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals 5, free or fused at base; petals 5, free or fused above base; stamens 10[15], fused below, of 2 lengths; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers [3]5, placentas axile, styles [1]5, generally +- free. Fruit: generally capsule, loculicidal. Seed: generally arilled.
Genera In Family: 5 genera, number of species uncertain: especially temperate. Note: Often heterostylous.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Robert Ornduff
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: OxalisView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Roots fibrous or woody; bulbs, tubers, or rhizomes often present. Stem: +- 0 or not. Leaf: stipules 0 or small; leaflets 3, generally +- obcordate [not], generally entire, generally green. Flower: petals clawed; styles erect or curved. Fruit: cylindric to spheric, explosively dehiscent. Seed: flat, often ridged; aril translucent.
Species In Genus: 500--950 species: especially temperate. Etymology: (Greek: sour, from acidic taste) Note: Taxonomy difficult, needs study; generally heterostylous; many (especially aliens in California except Oxalis micrantha) ornamental; some noxious weeds; oxalates may be TOXIC to livestock; Oxalis latifolia Kunth possibly naturalized in CCo (Keil 30389, just north of San Simeon), differs from Oxalis purpurea in having flowers in umbel-like cyme; Oxalis hirta L. an historical waif (no recent collections), excluded.

Oxalis pes-caprae L.
Habit: Perennial herb; bulbs many on rhizomes, root tips, < 2.5 cm, white to brown. Stem: generally underground, vertical, short. Leaf: < 40, in loose +- basal rosette at enlarged stem tip; petiole < 12 cm; leaflets < 3.5 cm, often purple-spotted, abaxially hairy. Inflorescence: umbel-like, < 20-flowered; peduncle < 30 cm. Flower: sepals < 7 mm, lanceolate to oblong, tips often with 2 orange tubercles; petals < 2.5 cm, yellow; filaments < 7 mm, hairy. Fruit: 0 in California.
Ecology: Disturbed areas, roadsides, grassland, dunes; Elevation: < 820 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, NCoRO, n SNF, ScV, CW (exc SCoRI), SW (exc SnJt); Distribution Outside California: worldwide alien; native to southern Africa. Toxicity: Possibly TOXIC in quantity to sheep. Flowering Time: Jan--May Note: Cult as ornamental; common garden weed.
Synonyms: Oxalis cernua Thunb.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Robert Ornduff
Jepson Online Interchange
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

Previous taxon: Oxalis oregana
Next taxon: Oxalis pilosa

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botanical illustration including Oxalis pes-caprae


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Robert Ornduff 2016. Oxalis pes-caprae, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 27, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 27, 2016.

Oxalis pes-caprae
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© 2010 Thomas Stoughton
Oxalis pes-caprae
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© 2016 Aaron E. Sims and CNPS
Oxalis pes-caprae
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© 2009 Barry Rice
Oxalis pes-caprae
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© 2009 Barry Rice
Oxalis pes-caprae
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© 2009 Barry Rice
Oxalis pes-caprae
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© 2007 Neal Kramer

More photos of Oxalis pes-caprae in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Oxalis pes-caprae:
NCo, NCoRO, n SNF, ScV, CW (exc SCoRI), SW (exc SnJt);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.