Scientific Name:
Oxalis pes-caprae L., Sp. Pl. 434 (1753)
  • = Oxalis cernua Thunb. (1781)
Vernacular Name(s):
Bermuda buttercup; Soursob

Perennial herb, apparently acaulous but with underground stolons bearing numerous bulbils near the apex; contractile roots thick, fleshy, glassy white; bulb to c. 3 cm long, ovoid; tunic pale brown, 5–7-nerved. Lvs 3-foliolate, radical. Petiole 6–22 cm long, ± hairy; stipules membranous, glabrous or nearly so. Lamina sessile (that of terminal leaflet somewhat larger than laterals), 10–32 × 12–35 mm, shallowly to deeply 2-lobed to c. 1/2 way, glabrous above, ± sericeous and finely reticulate below; base narrow-cuneate; lobes oblong to almost obovate; apex rounded. Fls (1)–3–18, in pseudoumbels, pendent; peduncles (7)–15–45 cm long, glabrous to sparsely hairy; pedicels to 2 cm long, densely clothed in glandular hairs. Bracts at base of pedicels, c. 2.5 mm long, lanceolate, hairy, with apical calli. Sepals 5–6.5 mm long, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, with glandular hairs mainly towards base, or nearly glabrous; calli 2, apical, usually orange, sometimes yellow. Petals (1.5)–2–2.8 cm long, obovate with narrow claw, golden, sometimes red-margined, with appressed hairs outside or almost glabrous. Stamens at 2 levels, glabrous; filaments appendaged below, c. 7 mm long in the 2 common stylar morphs, 5 mm long in the rare long-style morph. Styles either < or nearly = lower stamen whorl (short-styled clone), > lower stamen whorl (mid-style clone), or = or > upper stamen whorl (long-style clone), hairy. Capsule not seen.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: Jan.–Dec.

Connor, H.E. 1977: The Poisonous Plants in New Zealand. Edition 2. Government Printer, Wellington.
Hobbs, J.; Hatch, T. 1994: Bulbs for New Zealand Gardens. Godwit Press, Auckland.
Linnaeus, C. 1753: Species Plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.