Wood Sorrel

Out of all the wild edibles that we know of, Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) is one that we eat the most often.

It is relatively easy to identify, looking much like a shamrock in shape. There are three leaves on Wood Sorrel, and each is a green heart-shaped leaf.

Personally, I find the taste of the leaves to be quite delicious, having a slight sour taste. Wood Sorrel is filled with Vitamin C and is fantastic for heading off scurvy. We might not have to worry about that so much now, but in the future it is possible that we will. It is a diuretic, antiseptic, and it helps to fend off nausea, sore throats, and skin sores. The leaves of the wood sorrel also helps to quench thirst. It is likely that wood sorrel iced tea would make a nice alternative to lemonade.

It contains oxalic acid which is slightly toxic when consumed in large amounts. Be careful not to eat too much of this plant at any given time and you will likely be fine.

The leaves of this plant are a fantastic addition to salads and are good just picked and eaten then and there. They are surprisingly flavorful.

I hope you enjoy Wood Sorrel as much as I do!

– Miranda Vivian

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9 Comments

  1. Rix said,

    July 24, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    I love wood sorrel too. Even the stems and pods and flowers taste good.

    If I recall correctly, from reading Steve Brill, oxcalic acid intereferes with calcium absorbtion.

  2. Aftermath said,

    July 24, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Indeed it does. Fortunately, unless you really gorge yourself on wood sorrel, you likely will have no problems with it.

    – Miranda Vivian

  3. Vicky said,

    July 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Serendiptously, I found some in the front yard today. I was surprised at how sweet it was; just like lemonade. I made tea out of it. It ended up being weak because I was afraid of picking too much, but there was definitely a slight flavor of lemonade. It’s even yellow like lemonade. I wonder if I could make a stronger tea and fool everyone. Surprise! It’s wood sorrel tea! Is oxalic acid broken down by cooking?

  4. Aftermath said,

    July 27, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    As far as I can tell and what I’ve heard, oxalic acid is broken down by cooking.
    I don’t think it would be a problem adding more wood sorrel to make a stronger tea. The real problem with it is in extreme doses, or if you have problems with calcium intake as it is.

    – Miranda Vivian

  5. Aftermath said,

    July 27, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    It maybe important to note that calcium is used by the body to maintain its PH balance by helping to neutralize acids. So, if anyone is concerned about their calcium intake it would behoove them to limit the acidity of their food. The most common source of acidic food among Americans are grains.

    -Benjamin Shender

  6. Ryann said,

    August 16, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    would one be able to preserve wood sorrel leaves for a long period of time in order to save them for when they’re really needed? Or clone them and splice out the oxalic acid? kthxbai.

  7. Aftermath said,

    August 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I don’t typically recommend home gene splicing. As for preserving them there are many ways to preserve plants and their properties. It just depends on what you intend the ultimate use to be. If you are eating them, you should probably dry them. Topically we would make an oil of the wood sorrel. This could be used for acne.

    – Benjamin Shender and Miranda Vivian

  8. Natalie said,

    September 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Is this the variety of oxalis that is sold at St Patrick’s Day as a shamrock? The one I have is nearly a pest now – pretty; I like it; but it takes over. I have dug it “all” out, little corms by the hundreds, and there it is again, maybe even stronger. I have one with dark maroon foliage and pale purply-pink flowers, strong as can be.

  9. Aftermath said,

    September 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    This variety of oxalis is indeed something that looks strikingly like a shamrock, and given the chance will take over. My method of dealing with that? Eating it!

    – Miranda Vivian


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