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Useful Tropical Plants

Oxalis debilis

Kunth

Oxalidaceae

+ Synonyms

Acetosella debilis (Kunth) Kuntze

Acetosella grandifolia (DC.) Kuntze

Acetosella martiana (Zucc.) Kuntze

Ionoxalis canaminensis Rusby

Ionoxalis martiana (Zucc.) Small

Oxalis bipunctata Graham

Oxalis bulbifera R.Knuth

Oxalis caripensis Hieron.

Oxalis corymbosa DC.

Oxalis debilis corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig.

Oxalis gemella Willd. ex Zucc.

Oxalis grandifolia DC.

Oxalis huilensis R.Knuth

Oxalis martiana Zucc.

Oxalis multibulbosa Turcz.

Oxalis pynaertii De Wild.

Oxalis umbrosa Willd. ex Zucc.

Oxalis urbica A.St.-Hil.

Sassia debilis (Kunth) Holub

Common Name: Lilac Oxalis

No Image.

General Information

Oxalis debilis is a perennial plant growing from a bulb; it produces a cluster of leaves and flowering stems about 15cm tall. The bulb also produces many small bulbs around its base and a fleshy, contractile root that can pull the bulb deeper into the soil.
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

S. America - Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Guatemala.

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

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.15 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Oxalis debilis is native to tropical regions but has spread through cultivation and become naturalized in many other regions including warmer areas of the temperate zone.
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]).
].
Oxalis debilis is often grown as an ornamental. It has spread from cultivation and become naturalized in many locations outside its native range. The plant spreads especially by means of the many small bulbs produced around the base of the mother bulb which are easily detatched from the parent plant. The plant is deemed invasive in many tropical countries and, even though it is a tropical plant, it has also become naturalized in warmer areas of the temperate zone such as southwest Europe[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].

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.
]. The acid-flavoured leaves are used as a seasoning with a flavour similar to tamarind (Tamarindus indica)[
1438
Title
Food Plants in the Americas: A Survey of the Domesticated, Cultivated, and Wild Plants Used for Human Food in North,
Publication
 
Author
Kermath B.M.; Bennett B.C.' Pulsipher L.M.
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
 
Description
A pre-publication draft of an amazing, on-going work first started in 1985. It contains information on more than 3,900 taxa from the Americas - from Arctic regions to the Tropics
]. .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. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out when large enough.
Division, preferably when the plant is doemant. Very easy, 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.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-11-27. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Oxalis+debilis>

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