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Useful Tropical Plants

Oxalis corymbosa

DC.

Oxalidaceae

+ Synonyms

Oxalis debilis corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig.

Oxalis martiana Zucc.

Common Name: Lilac Oxalis

Oxalis corymbosa
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: Kai Yan, Joseph Wong
Creative Commons License
Oxalis corymbosa Oxalis corymbosa Oxalis corymbosa Oxalis corymbosa

General Information

Lilac oxalis is a perennial plant growing about 15cm tall.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for its edible leaves, flowers and root.

Known Hazards

The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Botanical References

17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Northern S. America northwards to the Caribbean and through Central America to Florida.

Habitat

Moist, shady places at elevations of 45 - 1,200 metres in Jamaica[
426
Title
Flowering Plants of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Adams. C.D.
Publisher
University of the West Indies; Jamaica.
Year
1972
ISBN
 
Description
A terse treatment of the flowering plants of Jamaica, with a botanical description of each plant, notes on habitat etc.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.15 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Easily grown in a sandy soil in a warm dry position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].

Edible Uses

Leaves and leafstalks - raw or cooked[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet.

Flowers - raw. A pleasant acid flavour, they make an ornamental addition to a mixed salad[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Root - raw. Sweet, crisp and succulent[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in late spring or early summer.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

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