Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

In Illinois, this is the only Oxalis sp. (Wood Sorrel) that has lavender or pale purple flowers. Other Wood Sorrel species within the state have yellow flowers. Both the flowers and leaves open up on sunny days, otherwise they fold up and "go to sleep." Violet Wood Sorrel is an attractive plant, although rather small in size. The leaflets are supposed to be edible in small amounts. Return
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Description

This perennial plant is up to 6" tall. It consists of a small cluster of trifoliate basal leaves on long petioles that emerge directly from the ground. The petioles of the basal leaves are up to 4" long; they are whitish green to pale reddish green, terete, glabrous, and rather delicate in appearance. Individual trifoliate leaves are about 1" across and they open up during the day. Each leaf consists of three obcordate leaflets with smooth margins. The leaves may turn purplish in response to cold weather or strong sunlight, otherwise, they tend to be greyish green. Both the upper and lower leaflet surfaces are hairless.  Among these leaves, floppy umbels of flowers develop on peduncles up to 6" long. The peduncles are similar in appearance to the petioles. Each umbel has 2-5 flowers on slender pedicels up to 1" long; usually only 1-2 flowers per umbel are in bloom at the same time. The flowers are bell-shaped (campanulate) and about 1/3" (8 mm.) across. Each flower has 5 lavender or pale purple petals, 5 light green sepals, 5 inserted stamens with yellow anthers, and an ovary with an inserted style. Near the throat of the flower, the petals become greenish white with converging fine veins; they are oblanceolate in shape, often becoming slightly recurved toward their tips. The sepals are shorter than the petals; they are lanceolate in shape and hairless with purplish tips. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer, lasting about 1-2 months. On rare occasions, Violet Wood Sorrel may bloom again during the fall. There is no floral scent. Eventually, slender pointed seed capsules develop that split into 5 sections, sometimes ejecting the light brown seeds several inches. The root system consists of small bulblets with fibrous roots; these bulblets can multiply by forming clonal offsets. Cultivation
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Weed, Native of Tropical America"
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Violet Wood Sorrel occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is occasional throughout the state. Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, hill prairies, open upland forests, savannas, edges of wooded bluffs, limestone glades, and abandoned fields. Violet Wood Sorrel responds positively to prairie wildfires as this clears away the dead vegetation that can smother this plant during the spring. It is usually found in higher quality natural areas where the original ground flora has been left intact.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Massachusetts to North Dakota, south to Florida and Texas.

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Karnataka: Coorg
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Violet Wood Sorrel occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is occasional throughout the state. Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, hill prairies, open upland forests, savannas, edges of wooded bluffs, limestone glades, and abandoned fields. Violet Wood Sorrel responds positively to prairie wildfires as this clears away the dead vegetation that can smother this plant during the spring. It is usually found in higher quality natural areas where the original ground flora has been left intact.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

Primarily long-tongued and short-tongued bees visit the flowers for nectar or pollen. This includes little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.), mason bees (Osmia spp., Hoplitis spp.), Andrenid bees, and Halictid bees (including green metallic bees). Less commonly, the flowers may be visited by small butterflies, skippers, and bee flies. Syrphid flies also visit the flowers, but they feed on the pollen and are non-pollinating. The oligophagous caterpillars of a brownish Noctuid moth, Galgula partita (The Wedgling), feed on the leaflets of Oxalis spp. The seeds of Oxalis spp. are eaten to a limited extent by several upland gamebirds and songbirds, including the Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Horned Lark, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Slate-Colored Junco. The Prairie Deer Mouse and White-Footed Mouse also eat the seeds of these plants. The Cottontail Rabbit browses on the foliage occasionally, even though it is mildly toxic because of the presence of oxalic acid.
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Violet Wood Sorrel in Illinois

Oxalis violacea (Violet Wood Sorrel)
(Short-tongued bees collect pollen or suck nectar; beetles feed on nectar or pollen; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Robertson, Bernhardt, and MacRae)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn (Rb); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn (Rb), Bombus pensylvanica sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn fq (Rb), Ceratina dupla dupla sn fq (Rb); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia speciosa sn fq (Rb); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada articulata sn (Rb), Nomada cressonii sn (Rb), Nomada parva sn fq (Rb), Nomada superba superba sn fq (Rb); Anthophoridae (Pasitidini): Holcopasites calliopsidis sn (Bht); Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn (Bht), Hoplitis producta sn (Bht), Osmia distincta sn (Rb), Osmia pumila sn fq (Rb)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halctinae): Agapostemon sericea sn (Rb), Agapostemon virescens sn (Rb), Augochlorella persimilis sn cp fq (Bht), Augochlorella striata sn cp fq (Rb, Bht), Halictus confusus sn cp fq (Rb), Halictus ligatus sn cp (Rb), Halictus rubicunda sn cp fq (Rb), Lasioglossum albipennis sn cp (Rb, Bht), Lasioglossum forbesii sn (Rb), Lasioglossum pectoralis sn (Rb), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp fq (Rb), Lasioglossum pruinosus sn (Bht), Lasioglossum versatus sn (Rb, Bht); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena personata sn (Rb), Andrena violae sn (Rb), Andrena cressonii sn (Rb); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis andreniformis sn fq (Bht)

Flies
Bombyliidae: Unidentified sp. sn (Bht), Bombylius fascipennis sn (Rb)

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Phyciodes tharos sn (Rb); Pieridae: Colias philodice sn (Rb)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Unidentified sp. sn (Bht), Erynnis brizo sn (Rb)

Moths
Arctiidae: Unidentified sp. sn (Bht)

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera neglecta (McR), Acmaeodera tubulus fp np (Rb)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Oxalis violacea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Oxalis violacea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Oxalis violacea

Oxalis violacea, the violet wood-sorrel, is a perennial plant and herb in the Oxalidaceae family.[1] Oxalis species are also known as sour grass, sour trefoil, and shamrock.

Distribution[edit]

It is native plant in much of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains east to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and through Eastern Canada. It has a tendency to cluster in open places in damp woods and on stream banks, and in moist prairies.[1]

The plant is listed as a threatened or endangered species in five eastern U.S. states.[2]

Description[edit]

Oxalis violacea emerges in early spring from an underground bulb, and grows to an average height of approximately 7 inches. The three-part leaves have heart-shaped leaflets. It is similar in appearance to small clovers such as the shamrock.

The plant bears violet colored flowers above the foliage, during April, May, and June.

Uses[edit]

Medicinal[edit]

Oxalis violacea was used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans, including the Cherokee and Pawnee peoples.[3]

Culinary[edit]

All parts of the plant are edible; flowers, leaves, stems, and bulb. Oxalis is from the Greek word meaning sour, and this plant has a sour juice. It is used in salads. Moderate use of plant is advisable, as it should not be eaten in large quantities due to a high concentration of oxalic acid, ("salt of lemons") which can be poisonous.[4]

It was a traditional food source of the Native American Apache, Cherokee, Omaha, Pawnee, and Ponca peoples.[3]

Cultivation[edit]

Oxalis violacea is cultivated as an ornamental plant, for use as a flowering groundcover or perennial plant in traditional and native plant gardens, and for natural landscaping projects.[5] It spreads rapidly by runners and bulbs.[6] In gardens the plant prefers partial shade and moisture.[6]

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: GRANK received from A.A. Reznicek and M.R. Penskar (92-02-07).

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