Wood Sorrel - Oxalis acetosella Wood Sorrel - Oxalis acetosella
Foto: botanika.wendys.cz

Herb: Wood Sorrel

Latin name: Oxalis acetosella

Family: Oxalidaceae (Wood Sorrel Family)

Medicinal use of Wood Sorrel:

The fresh or dried leaves are anodyne, antiscorbutic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, irritant and stomachic. A decoction is used in the treatment of fevers, both to quench the thirst and allay the fever. Externally, the leaves are crushed and applied locally to dispel boils and abscesses, they also have an astringent affect on wounds. When used internally, some caution is advised due to the oxalic acid content of the leaves, the plant is contra-indicated for people suffering from gastritis or a calculus condition.

Description of the plant:


8 cm
(3 1/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Moist woods, moorland and on shady rocks.

Edible parts of Wood Sorrel:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A delicious lemony flavour, the leaves make a refreshing, thirst-quenching munch and are also added to salads, soups, sauces etc. This leaf should be used in moderation, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers - raw. A decorative addition to salads. The dried plant can be used as a curdling agent for plant milks.

Other uses of the herb:

The juice of the leaves removes iron mould stains from linen. Plants can be grown as a ground cover in woodland or under the shade of shrubs. They should be spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Propagation of Wood Sorrel:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is 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. 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 in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist woods, moorland and on shady rocks.

Known hazards of Oxalis acetosella:

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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.