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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

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

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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"Tamil Nadu: Madurai, Nilgiri"
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Global Distribution

Native of southern Africa, naturalizedas a weed in many warm regions.

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Distribution: A native of the Cape region of South Africa. Naturalised in the Mediterranean region and West Europe, North Africa, Iran, Turkey and South West Asia.
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Distribution in Egypt

Nile region, Mediterranean region and Sinai.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Perennials, 5-15(-40) cm tall, acaulescent, sparsely pubescent; bulb with white fleshy contractile root and a slender vertical stem rising to soil surface; underground stem and soil surface crown bearing numerous small bulbils and scales. Petiole 3-10 cm, erect to spreading; leaflet blades obcordate, 0.8-2 × 1.2-3.2 cm, slightly succulent, bright green often with dark purple spots, glabrous, apex deeply emarginate. Umbellate cymes with 3-20 flowers; peduncle 2 × as long as petioles. Flowers 2-3 cm across, nodding. Sepals lanceolate, 2.5-4 × ca. 1 mm, apex with a pair of orange calli. Petals deep golden yellow, obovate. Capsule long terete, pubescent, very rarely formed. Fl. Apr-Sep.
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Description

Perennial 12—24 cm tall. Stem underground, bulbiferous. Leaflets 5—15 mm long, 10 - 30 mm broad, often mottled purplish red; margin and lower surface pilose. Petiole up to 25 cm long. Scapes 1—5, up to 17 cm long, slender. Flowers 2—12, subumbellate. Sepals 5—7 mm long, lanceolate, tip with a reddish brown callus. Petals 15 20 mm long, yellow. Filament glabrous. Fruiting rare.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Synonym

Oxalis cernua Thunberg.
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Synonym

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated grounds, open habitats; low elevations. Naturalized at least in Fujian but cultivated elsewhere in S China and very likely to escape and spread vegetatively [native to South Africa].
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per. January-April.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Oxalis pes-caprae

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 pes-caprae

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Wikipedia

Oxalis pes-caprae

For the fruit tree, see Soursop.
Open and closed bunch of Oxalis pes-caprae
Details of open and closed flowers, in the background: leaves

Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda buttercup, African wood-sorrel, Bermuda sorrel, Buttercup oxalis, Cape sorrel, English weed, Goat's-foot, Sourgrass, Soursob and Soursop; (Afrikaans: Suring) [1]) is a species of tristylous flowering plant in the wood sorrel family Oxalidaceae. Oxalis cernua is a less common synonym for this species.

Description[edit]

The Oxalis pes-caprae flower is actinomorphic, with a calyx composed of five free or slightly fused sepals, a sympetalous corolla composed of five fused petals, an apoandrous androecium composed of ten free stamens in two ranks, and a compound pistil. Like most African Oxalis species, it produces adventitious subterranean propagules. These take the form of true bulbs in botanical terms, which is unusual among dicotyledons. In fact, Oxalis pes-caprae produces small bulbs copiously, whereas most other African species produce fewer, larger bulbs. New world Oxalis, such as Oxalis corniculata, apparently do not generally produce bulbs.

Invasive species[edit]

Indigenous to South Africa, Oxalis pes-caprae, the "Bermuda buttercup", is an invasive species and noxious weed in many other parts of the world, including the United States (particularly coastal California),[2] Europe, Israel and Australia.[3]

Control[edit]

The plant has a reputation for being very difficult to eliminate once it has spread over an area of land.[4] The weed propagates largely through its underground bulbs and this is one reason why it is so difficult to eradicate, as pulling up the stems leaves the bulbs behind. Soil in which the plant has grown is generally filled with small bulbs.

Kluge & Claassens (1990) reported a potential biocontrol agent using Klugeana philoxalis, a larval feeder on shoots of O. pes-caprae.[5][6]

O. pes-caprae is also a host to broomrape, though it is not clear that that is of significance as a control agent.[7]

Uses[edit]

Oxalis pes-caprae is often called by the common name sourgrass or soursob due to its pleasant sour flavor. This sourness is caused by the exceptionally high content of oxalic acid.

The plant is palatable and in modest quantities is reasonably harmless to humans and livestock. In South Africa it is a traditional ingredient in dishes such as waterblommetjiebredie (water flower stew).[8]

The plant has been used in various ways as a source of oxalic acid, as food, and in folk medicine. The raw bulbs have been used to deal with tapeworm and possibly other worms. The plant has been used as a diuretic, possibly hazardously, in the light of observations in the following section. The lateral underground runners, which tend to be fleshy, have been eaten raw or boiled and served with milk.[9] The golden petals can be used to produce a yellow dye.[10]

Hazards[edit]

Oxalic acid is toxic in large quantities, a concern in regions such as southern Australia where Oxalis pes-caprae grows invasively in enormous quantities and in high densities.[citation needed] Various sources suggest that oxalis ingestion causes calcium oxalate kidney stones, but clinical experience and physiological considerations as described in the Wikipedia article on kidney stone make it unlikely that any realistic intake of Oxalis would affect human liability to kidney stones. Accordingly, some Australian references to the hazards of oxalis to livestock tend to be dismissive.

However, in spite of its comparatively benign nature, where it has become dominant in pastures, as sometimes happens outside South Africa, Oxalis pes-caprae certainly can cause dramatic stock losses. For example, when hungry stock, such as sheep released just after being shorn, are let out to graze in a lush growth of Oxalis pes-caprae, they may gorge on the plant, with fatal results, as has been found in South Australia at least.[11]

Such stock fatalities patently have little logical connection with the presence or absence of oxalate kidney stones. For one thing, the fatal effects on sheep are far too rapid to result from the growth of bulk kidney stones. The plant has been found to be nutritious, but too acidic to be good fodder, largely being left untouched by grazing stock. When stock do consume large quantities, the effects typically involve death in several weeks with symptoms suggesting chronic oxalate poisoning, including tetany or sudden death with extensive renal damage.[9] Such damage suggests the twofold effect of calcium immobilisation (the tetany) and the formation of Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate raphides in the kidney tissue.[12] The histotoxic effects of the raphides in kidney have by now been investigated.[13]

Oxalis poisoning of stock is not a serious forage concern in South African pastures, unless exceptionally favoured by overgrazing.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bosman, D. B.; Van der Merwe, I. W.; Hiemstra, L. W. (1984). Tweetalige Woordeboek Afrikaans-Engels. Tafelberg-uitgewers. ISBN 0-624-00533-X. 
  2. ^ Cal-IPC profile
  3. ^ Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia. "Soursob (Oxalis pes-caprae) (Nox)". Victorian Resources Online. Retrieved 6 June 2006. 
  4. ^ Elmore, C. L. & Cudney, D. W. (January 2002). "Creeping Woodsorrel and Bermuda Buttercup". In Ohlendorf, B. Pest Notes (Agricultural & Natural Resources, University of California). Publication 7444: 2. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Kluge, R. L.; Claassens, M.; "Klugeana philoxalis Geertsema (Noctuidae: Cuculliinae), the first potential biological control agent for the weed Oxalis pes-caprae L."; Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa 1990 Vol. 53 No. 2 pp. 191–198
  6. ^ "Oxalis pes-caprae". Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  7. ^ "Oxalis pes-caprae L. (Oxalidaceae); Bermuda Buttercup". Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  8. ^ S. J. A. de Villiers (2010). Cook and Enjoy. NB Publishers. ISBN 0-7981-4919-1. 
  9. ^ a b Watt, John Mitchell; Breyer-Brandwijk, Maria Gerdina: The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa 2nd ed Pub. E & S Livingstone 1962
  10. ^ Michael Tortorello (April 5, 2012). "A New Generation Discovers Grow-It-Yourself Dyes". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Bull, L.; Australian Veterinary Journal, 1929, Vol. 5 p. 60
  12. ^ McMartin K (November 2009). "Are calcium oxalate crystals involved in the mechanism of acute renal failure in ethylene glycol poisoning?". Clin Toxicol (Phila) 47 (9): 859–69. doi:10.3109/15563650903344793. PMID 19852621. 
  13. ^ Wiessner, John H.; Hasegawa, Andrew T.; Hung, Linda Y.; Mandel, Gretchen S.; Mandel, Neil S.; "-- Mechanisms of calcium oxalate crystal attachment to injured renal collecting duct cells"; Kidney International (2001) 59, 637–644; doi:10.1046/j.1523-1755.2001.059002637.x
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Notes

Comments

This species is cultivated as an ornamental in at least Hubei, Shaanxi, and Xinjiang. It is widely introduced and a problem weed in the Mediterranean and warm temperate and subtropical areas.
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Comments

The species found here are most probably pentaploids, which spread rapidly by bulbils. The tetraploids with fruit formation and heterostylous flowers are not known to occur here. Often found as a weed or in shady places in the plains. Commonly known as `yellow sorrel' or `Bermuda buttercup'.
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