Oxalis triangularis


Oxalis triangularis is an ideal houseplant with unusual deep maroon leaves and white flowers. It may be hardy in sheltered areas…

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Oxalis triangularis grows from rhizomes and becomes dormant when temperatures reach approximately 27 °C (81 °F). Its ideal growing temperature is 12-25 °C (54-77 °F) making it an ideal houseplant which appreciates a few hours of bright sunlight daily.  The deep maroon leaves are trifoliate, like species in the clover genus Trifolium which are commonly called shamrock, hence the common name “false shamrock”.

Interestingly, the leaves fold down at night, when disturbed and when in harsh sunlight. The white or pale pink five-petalled flowers also close at night. This leaf & flower behaviour is in response to light levels. They open in high ambient light and close at low light levels and when the sunlight is too bright. If the plant dies back in autumn/winter it is recommended to with-hold water until the spring. Even if the plant remains evergreen, we recommend cutting the foliage back every third year during the winter.

In well drained, humous rich soils, Oxalis triangularis can be hardy to -5°C (23 °F), especially if mulched. In a suitable location at the edge of a path or the front of a border it makes an exceptional talking point plant. To be certain of winter survival, however, we would recommend treating it as half hardy. It is also excellent for growing in pots on the patio and bringing into the house over winter.

The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. They are high in Oxalic Acid which gives them a sharp, acidic taste. Both the leaves and flowers can be used as a decoration for salads though we would recommend using them very sparingly. When consuming larger amounts of leaves, the oxalic acid can cause discomfort. The rhizomes can also be eaten raw or cooked and have a sweet taste. When planning to consume unusual plants we recommend you always undertake your own research and proceed with caution.  Please take care around pets and small animals as Oxalis can be toxic to them.

More Details:

Family: Oxalidaceae
Syn: Oxalis regnellii
Common Name: False Shamrock, purple shamrock
Native: Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay
Height x Spread: 50cm x 50cm
Soil Type: Well drained, humous rich
Soil pH: 7.6-7.8 (mildly alkaline)
Aspect: Sunny/Light
UK Hardiness: Half Hardy
Flowering Time: Spring / Summer
Flower Colour: White
Foliage Colour: Deep Maroon


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