T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Oxalis purpurea (Purple wood sorrel)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Oxalidales
Family: Oxalidaceae
Genus: Oxalis
Species: O. purpurea
Binomial name: Oxalis purpurea
Synonyms: Oxalis variabilis
Common name: Purple wood sorrel, Large flowered wood sorrel, Four o'clock, Grand duchess, Large-leaf wood-sorrel, one o'clock, Purple oxalis,

Oxalis purpurea is a perennial herb native to southern Africa (i.e. South Africa and Swaziland). It is introduced species found on most continents. It is now naturalised in southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and south-western USA. Oxalis purpurea is cultivated as an ornamental plant but it is now also regarded as an environmental weed. In New Zealand it is found in the North Island from Auckland to Nelson in the South Island in lawns and waste places.

It grows from bulbs and produces a few basal leaves and flowers. The leaf is made up of three hairy leaflets of a dark green in colour, which are spotted with brown areas as they dry. 
It developes a solitary, purple-rose colour flower on a stem like peduncle. It has five petals which may exceed two centimetres in length.