Common name: Sauerklee
Oxalis adenophylla, an ideal plant for rock gardens, borders, as a ground cover, and in containers, is native to the Chilean and Argentinian Andes Mountains. It belongs to the wood sorrel family (Oxalidaceae). It enjoys full sun and a free draining soil.
O. adenophylla has pale, five-petaled white to pink flowers with dark purple centres. There are twice as many stamens as petals, and they are arranged in two rings with the outer ring opposite the petals. The small, greyish-green, heart-shaped leaflets give the impression of being folded or pleated. Oxalis adenophylla grows from an unusual- looking corm which is hairy and surrounded by fibrous material similar to coir. Both flowers and foliage close up at night or in bad weather and are said to 'go to sleep'.
O. adenophylla was described by Claude-Casimir Gillies in 1832. The genus name means 'sharp or pungent' referring to the taste of the leaves. The leaves contain oxalic acid. The species name means 'bearing glands upon the leaves'.
Oxalis adenophylla can be found in Bed 59B of the Southern Hemisphere Garden.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe