Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Violet Wood Sorrel


Another of the early wildflowers of the year, Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea) is starting to flower in the woods.

Often mistaken for clover or even shamrocks, oxalis species are a common herb sometimes considered a weed in gardens. This particular wood sorrel is common east of the Rocky Mountains but is becoming increasingly rare and threatened in it’s northeastern range. Violet Wood Sorrel is listed as endangered in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Last week, I passed a patch of Violet Wood Sorrel and was surprised to watch a Zebra Longwing butterfly nectaring on the flowers. I never really thought of this species as much of a nectar plant, but when flowers are scarce this probably looks quite inviting.

DSCN0222 Oxalis is also edible to humans. Check out last week’s post on Creeping Wood Sorrel for more information about this wild edible plant.

Learn more about this species