Herb: Violet Wood Sorrel

Latin name: Oxalis violacea

Family: Oxalidaceae (Wood Sorrel Family)

Medicinal use of Violet Wood Sorrel:

The plant is anthelmintic, antiemetic, blood purifier, cancer and salve. A cold infusion is used to stop a person vomiting. An infusion can be used as a blood purifier, it is said to be a treatment in the early stages of cancer. An infusion of the plant is drunk and also used as a wash in treating children with hookworm. An infusion of the leaves, mixed with oil, can be used as a salve on sores.

Description of the plant:


25 cm
(9 3/4 inch)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, shaded slopes, gravelly banks and prairies. Dry sandy or clay soils.

Edible parts of Violet Wood Sorrel:

Leaves - raw or cooked. The acid salty leaves are eaten raw in salads and sandwiches or cooked as a potherb.Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet. Flowers - raw. An attractive and tasty garnish for salads. Root - raw or cooked. A lemon-flavoured drink is made from the leaves.

Propagation of the herb:

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. 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 Violet Wood Sorrel:

Woods, shaded slopes, gravelly banks and prairies. Dry sandy or clay soils.

Known hazards of Oxalis violacea:

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.