This species is closely related to and probably part of Oxalis tetraphylla[
], differing only in its sessile bulbils and truncate leaves[
Common Name: Iron Cross Plant
Iron cross plant is a perennial herb producing a rosette of leaves about 30cm tall from an underground bulb and taproot.
The leaves and flowers are gathered from the wild and eaten locally. A very ornamental plant, valued for its free flowering habit, it is often grown as an ornamental in gardens[
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[
Southern N. America - Mexico. Occasionally established in Europe.
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
An easily grown plant, preferring a sandy soil in a warm dry position[
]. It dislikes dry or heavy soils[
]. Dislikes lime[
]. Prefers a southerly aspect[
Leaves and flowers - raw or cooked[
]. A delicious lemony flavour, the leaves are tender and fairly free of fibres even when they get older[
]. Both the leaves and the flowers make a very refreshing and thirst-quenching munch in the garden, they also make an excellent flavouring in salads[
]. The leaves are available from June to October and the flowers from July to October, or even later in mild autumns[
]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet.
Root - raw or cooked[
]. The roots are up to 10cm long and 3cm wide at the top, they are tender and juicy but usually insipid[
]. Occasionally the root has a pleasant acid flavour, we have yet to find out what causes the difference[
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. Our plants have never produced seed.
Division in autumn, harvest the bulbs and replant in the spring. They usually increase very freely.
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