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Pink Sorrel

Oxalis articulata

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.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Oxalidaceae (Wood Sorrel)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
5 deep pink petals, sometimes paler, forming an umbel.
A capsule which contains the seeds.
The leaves are similar to Wood Sorrel. They are divided into 3 leaflets (trifolate) and the tips of the leaflets are notched. The undersides of the leaves are covered in numerous orange spots.
Other Names:
Pink Oxalis, Pink Oxalis Sourgrass, Pink Wood-sorrel, Sourgrass, Windowbox Wood-sorrel.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Oxalis articulata, also known as "pink-sorrel" or "pink woodsorrel", is a perennial herb that is native to South Africa. It is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types and can tolerate shade and dry conditions. The plant has small, pink, five-petaled flowers and clover-like leaves. It is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, and it is also used as a ground cover plant. The plant also have some medicinal uses as a diuretic and a laxative.


Pink sorrel, also known as Oxalis articulata, is a beautiful plant species with delicate pink flowers that add a vibrant touch to any garden or landscape. It belongs to the Oxalidaceae family and is native to South America, but is now found in many parts of the world due to its ornamental value.

Appearance and Characteristics

Pink sorrel is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 30 cm tall. It has distinctive clover-like leaves, with three heart-shaped leaflets that are connected to the stem by a joint. This feature gives the plant its species name "articulata," which means jointed. The leaves are usually green, but can sometimes have a purplish tinge.

The pink flowers of the plant grow on long, slender stems and have five petals that are arranged in a star shape. They bloom from late spring to early fall and attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to the garden.

Growing Conditions

Pink sorrel is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and it can grow in full sun or partial shade. The plant is also drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for dry or arid climates.


Pink sorrel can be propagated by division or from seed. To propagate by division, simply dig up the plant and separate the clumps into smaller pieces, making sure that each piece has some roots attached. Plant the divisions in well-draining soil and water regularly until they become established.

To propagate from seed, plant the seeds in well-draining soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Water the soil lightly and keep it moist until the seeds germinate, which usually takes about 1-2 weeks. Once the seedlings have grown to a height of about 5-10 cm, they can be transplanted to their permanent location.


Pink sorrel is primarily grown as an ornamental plant due to its attractive flowers and foliage. It is often used in rock gardens, borders, or as a ground cover. In some cultures, the plant is also used for medicinal purposes. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is used to treat digestive disorders and fever.

Pink sorrel is a beautiful and hardy plant that is easy to grow and care for. Whether you want to add some color to your garden or take advantage of its medicinal properties, this plant is a great choice for any gardener.

Benefits of Pink Sorrel

Besides its ornamental value and medicinal properties, Pink Sorrel has some other benefits that make it a useful plant to have in your garden.

  1. Attracts pollinators: The pink flowers of Pink Sorrel attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your garden. This helps to improve the health and diversity of your garden ecosystem.

  2. Edible plant: Pink Sorrel is an edible plant that has a tart, lemony taste. The leaves and flowers can be added to salads, soups, and other dishes for added flavor and nutrition.

  3. Ground cover: Pink Sorrel makes an excellent ground cover due to its ability to spread quickly and cover large areas. It helps to prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds, and keep the soil moist.

  4. Low maintenance: Pink Sorrel is a low maintenance plant that requires little care once established. It is drought-tolerant, pest-resistant, and can grow in a variety of soils.

  5. Easy to propagate: As mentioned earlier, Pink Sorrel is easy to propagate from division or seed. This makes it a cost-effective way to add more plants to your garden or share with friends and family.

In summary, Pink Sorrel is a versatile plant that has a lot to offer to gardeners. It is beautiful, easy to grow, and has many benefits that make it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a beginner, Pink Sorrel is a great plant to consider for your next gardening project.

Potential Risks of Pink Sorrel

While Pink Sorrel has many benefits, it's important to note that it also has some potential risks. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  1. Invasive potential: Pink Sorrel can be an invasive species in some areas. It spreads quickly and can take over other plants in the garden. If you live in an area where Pink Sorrel is invasive, it's important to keep it contained and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your garden or neighboring areas.

  2. Oxalic acid content: Pink Sorrel contains oxalic acid, which can be toxic in high doses. While the small amounts found in the leaves and flowers are not harmful to most people, it's important to be cautious if you have a history of kidney stones or other health issues related to oxalates.

  3. Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to Pink Sorrel, especially if they have allergies to other plants in the Oxalis family. Symptoms may include skin irritation, hives, or difficulty breathing.

  4. Cultural or religious beliefs: In some cultures or religions, Pink Sorrel is considered a weed or an undesirable plant. If you are considering planting Pink Sorrel, it's important to be aware of any cultural or religious beliefs that may affect its use or acceptance in your community.

To minimize the risks associated with Pink Sorrel, it's important to practice responsible gardening and be aware of any potential issues that may arise. If you have concerns or questions about Pink Sorrel, it's always a good idea to consult with a gardening expert or your healthcare provider.

How to Care for Pink Sorrel

Pink Sorrel is a relatively low maintenance plant, but it still requires some care to ensure that it grows and blooms to its full potential. Here are a few tips for caring for Pink Sorrel:

  1. Soil: Pink Sorrel prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or clay-based, you can amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve its drainage and fertility.

  2. Sunlight: Pink Sorrel can grow in full sun or partial shade, but it tends to bloom more profusely in full sun. If you live in a hot or arid climate, you may want to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent the plant from drying out.

  3. Watering: Pink Sorrel is drought-tolerant, but it still requires regular watering to keep it healthy and blooming. Water the plant deeply once a week, or more frequently during hot, dry weather. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot or other issues.

  4. Fertilizer: Pink Sorrel doesn't require a lot of fertilizer, but you can give it a boost by applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer once or twice a year. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers, as these can encourage leafy growth at the expense of flowers.

  5. Pruning: Pink Sorrel doesn't require much pruning, but you can trim back any dead or damaged foliage to keep the plant looking neat and tidy. You can also pinch back the stems to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.

  6. Pests and diseases: Pink Sorrel is relatively pest-resistant, but it can be susceptible to some diseases such as powdery mildew or rust. Keep an eye out for any signs of disease or insect damage and treat as necessary with an appropriate fungicide or insecticide.

In summary, Pink Sorrel is a beautiful and low maintenance plant that can add color and vibrancy to any garden or landscape. With a little bit of care and attention, you can enjoy its blooms and benefits for many years to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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