Wood-sorrel

©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Wood-sorrel

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Scientific name: Oxalis acetosella
A delicate, small plant of woodlands and hedgerows, Wood-sorrel has distinctive, trefoil leaves and white flowers with purple veins; both fold up at night.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 10cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to May

About

The fresh green, trefoil leaves of Wood-sorrel form distinctive clumps in woodlands and shady hedgerows, often growing from the moss on fallen logs. Rising from these cushions, the delicate white flowers hang on tiny stems, blooming around Eastertime and giving rise to its popular European name of 'Alleluia'.

What to look for

Wood-sorrel has distinctive trefoil leaves - at night, the three, heart-shaped lobes are folded back into a tent, while during the day, they flatten out. The white flowers have five petals and tiny purple veins, they also close as the light fades, reopening in the dappled sun.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

Certain plants are used as indicators of how old a woodland is, although these plants may differ from region to region, simply because habitats, soils and conditions change the flora present. Wood-sorrel is used as an indicator of ancient woodlands mainly in Central and Southern England.