Wood-sorrel, is not related to the Sorrels called Rumex and looking like miniature dock plants, this sorrel is an Oxalis and has trifoliate leaves like clover (which it is also not related to)Wood-sorrel will grow in very shady places in the woods, it does live in Ninewells wood and there was a very small patch of it growing in my bit of Ninewells wood, however since we removed all the Corsican Pines, I have not seen it. Possibly the disruption caused by the felling and subsequent clearing of the brash removed this very small colony. This is why in an ideal world clear felling should be avoided, however this option was not open to us, we could only obtain a felling licence for clearfell and to be honest that is what I would have opted for as it made considerably more economic sense……. Sorry Mr Sorrel.
Wood-sorrel is another one of the plants which indicates that a woodland is in the ‘ancient woodland’ category, which is why I am a bit unhappy about possibly loosing it from my own patch of woodland, although it is to be found quite nearby in other parts of Ninewells wood and it is quite common along the Wye valley.
To view other plants found in Ninewells wood and along the Wye valley click the link. Woodland wildflowers of the Wye Valley.
The flowers are cleistogamous, that is, they undergo pollination and fertilisation before the flower opens. The plant can also spread by horizontally growing underground stems (rhizomes), which is why the colonies are often an almost circular shape.
You can eat the leaves and they are quite tangy, however 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.