Monday, April 16, 2007
This was growing in the Alpine House at Wave Hill. It looked to me to be a fantastic ground cover. I found several references on the web but didn’t find the usual flood of information you get with most plants. There wasn't a common name that I could find. I was looking for a picture of the flower but couldn’t find one. I did find someone who had put a flower from a another species of Oxalis and photographed it. It looked real and that is first time I had seen someone do that and I am glad he owned up to it later. I guess you can see anything if you are on the Internet long enough. This plant does not bloom every much. It was growing in a very small pot and I had to take the picture at the angle I did because I didn’t want to include any of the clay pot (I did manage to get a little of the rim in there). The plant itself looked to about 1 inch tall so it was a real ground hugger. This Oxalis is a native of South Africa and can be used in rockeries and alpine garden in Zone 9 and above. I am not sure what the color is on some of the leaf tips but that just added some extra beauty to them.
Oxalis is part of the Oxalidaceae family and there are about 800 known species of Oxalis. They occur across the earth but not on the polar caps. Although they are often called Wood sorrel they are not related to the genus Rumex, which contains the true sorrels. Quite a few will grow in the garden and they grow quite well as wildflowers too. They contain the strong oxalic acid. The description of Oxalis said that it has “dehiscent capsule”:
“The spontaneous opening at maturity of a plant structure, such as a fruit, anther, or sporangium, to release its contents.”
That of course had me looking up “sporangium”:
“A single-celled or many-celled structure in which spores are produced, as in fungi, algae, mosses, and ferns. Also called spore case.”