Open the Advanced Search

Bermuda Buttercup

Oxalis pes-caprae

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Oxalidaceae (Wood Sorrel)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, roadsides, seaside.

Yellow, 5 petals
Sulphur yellow flowers, up to 2.5cm (1 inch) in size. Flowers appear in small umbels or clusters. The petals are fused together. Flowers can appear most the year round but are most commonly seen from about February to June. The largest species of yellow flowered sorrel in the UK. Bermuda Buttercup is not a true buttercup and is in fact much larger flowered than most (but not all) species of buttercup. Pollinated by insects.
The fruit is a 5-parted capsule, much longer than broad. The seeds ripen from April to June.
A deciduous perennial flower in leaf from October to June. The leaves consist of 3 heart-shaped leaflets which branch outwards from the end of the stem.
Other Names:
African Wood-sorrel, Bermuda Sorrel, Buttercup Oxalis, Cape Sorrel, English Weed, Goat's-foot, Sourgrass, Soursob, Soursop.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Oxalis pes-caprae, also known as Bermuda buttercup, is a species of flowering plant in the family Oxalidaceae. It is native to South Africa and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. O. pes-caprae is a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of up to 20 centimeters. It has long, narrow, green leaves and small, yellow or orange flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant is valued for its ornamental value and is commonly grown in gardens and parks. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. O. pes-caprae is known for its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be invasive in some areas and is considered a weed in some parts of the world.


Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae) is a small, yellow-flowered plant that is native to South Africa. Despite its exotic origins, it has become an invasive species in many parts of the world, including Bermuda. With its bright and cheerful appearance, it is easy to see why many gardeners and landscapers have fallen in love with this plant. However, its rapid growth and ability to spread can make it difficult to control. In this blog post, we will explore the history, characteristics, and impact of Bermuda Buttercup.


Bermuda Buttercup was first introduced to Bermuda in the late 1800s as an ornamental plant. It was prized for its bright yellow flowers and delicate, clover-like leaves. Over time, the plant spread throughout the island and became an invasive species, taking over native habitats and reducing the diversity of Bermuda's ecosystems.


Bermuda Buttercup has a number of characteristics that make it both appealing and challenging to control. Its small, yellow flowers are born on long stems and are produced in large quantities, making it an eye-catching plant. Its leaves are clover-like, with three leaflets per stem, and fold up at night or in response to changes in light levels. Additionally, Bermuda Buttercup reproduces both sexually and asexually, producing seeds and new plants from its root system. This makes it difficult to control, as a single plant can quickly spread to form a large patch.


Bermuda Buttercup has had a profound impact on Bermuda's ecosystems. It has taken over large areas of land, reducing the diversity of plant life and providing little food or habitat for native wildlife. This has led to a decline in the number of native bird species and insects that rely on native vegetation. Additionally, its shallow roots and dense growth can prevent the establishment of other plant species, making it even more difficult to control.

Control and Management

Given the invasive nature of Bermuda Buttercup, it is important to control its spread and prevent it from taking over native habitats. There are several strategies that can be used to control this plant, including:

  1. Physical removal: This involves manually digging up the plant, including its roots, to prevent re-growth. This is a labor-intensive process and may need to be repeated several times to ensure complete removal.

  2. Chemical control: Herbicides can be used to control Bermuda Buttercup. However, care must be taken when applying these chemicals, as they can harm other plants and wildlife. It is important to follow the instructions on the product label and to choose a herbicide that is specifically formulated for use on Bermuda Buttercup.

  3. Smothering: This involves covering the plant with a layer of mulch or plastic to prevent light from reaching it. Over time, the plant will die due to lack of light. This method is often used in combination with physical removal or chemical control to increase its effectiveness.

  4. Biological control: In some cases, biological control methods may be used to control Bermuda Buttercup. This involves introducing natural predators or parasites that feed on the plant to reduce its population. However, this method can be slow and may not be effective in all cases.

It is important to be proactive in managing Bermuda Buttercup, as its rapid growth and ability to spread can quickly take over native habitats. In addition, it is also important to be vigilant in preventing the spread of this plant to new areas. This can be done by removing it from your garden and avoiding the dispersal of its seeds and root fragments.


Bermuda Buttercup is a beautiful but invasive plant that can quickly take over native habitats. It is important to be aware of its impact and to take steps to control its spread. Whether you are a gardener, landscaper, or simply someone who enjoys the outdoors, you can help to protect our ecosystems by being mindful of the plants that you choose to grow and the impact they may have on the environment.

Further Information

Invasive species like Bermuda Buttercup can have a negative impact on biodiversity, reducing the number and variety of species in an ecosystem. This can have cascading effects on other species, such as wildlife and insects, that rely on native vegetation for food and habitat.

In addition to its impact on biodiversity, Bermuda Buttercup can also affect the economy. For example, it can reduce the productivity of agricultural lands and reduce the aesthetic value of parks, gardens, and other public spaces. This can lead to decreased property values and reduced tourism.

It is important to be aware of the impacts of invasive species and to take steps to prevent their spread. This can be as simple as choosing to plant native species in your garden or avoiding the dispersal of invasive seeds and plants. By being mindful of our impact on the environment, we can help to protect the ecosystems that sustain us and ensure a healthy, diverse planet for future generations.

In conclusion, Bermuda Buttercup is a beautiful but invasive plant that can have a significant impact on biodiversity and the economy. By being aware of its impact and taking steps to prevent its spread, we can help to protect our ecosystems and ensure a healthy, diverse planet for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map