by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Oxalis corniculata   (Creeping Wood Sorrel)

Oxalis corniculata  (OXALIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Oxalis corniculata - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Oxalis corniculataL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 435 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Oxalis micrantha Bertero ex Savi
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Oxalidaceae R. Br. (The WoodSorrel Family)
4 species from the Oxalidaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Creeping Wood Sorrel, Yellow Wood Sorrel, Yellow Oxalis

Maltese name(s) :

Ingliża żgħira

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – November

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Oxalis: sour, acidic, or acrid-tasting, referring to the sour taste of the sap due to the high level of Oxalic acid that is present in most species, especially in the stems, leaves and roots. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Dry open habitats, especially cultivated ground.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Creeping, pubescent perennial, but flowering soon after germination. Stems up to 50 cm, procumbent, rooting at the nodes. Leaves alternate; petioles 2-8 cm, with small auriculate stipules; leaflets 5-18 x 8-23 mm, obcordate, deeply emarginate. Inflorescence umbellate, of 1-7 flowers; fruiting pedicels deflexed. Sepals lanceolate; petals 4-7 mm, yellow. Capsule 10-25 mm, cylindrical, hoary. Seeds transversely ridged, brown.
Chromosome number: 2n=24
Distributional range: S. Europe, extending locally northwards to N. France, Hungary and C. Ukraine often naturalized or casual further north.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, Belgium, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Czeck Republic and Slovakia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A N) AE(G) Ag Al Ar Az BH Bl(I M N) Bu Ca dCa(C F G H L P T) Cg Co Cr Cs Ct Cy Eg Ga(F) Ge Gg Gr Hs(S) Ir It Jo Le Li Lu Ma Md Mk dRf(K) Sa Si(M S) Sl Sn Sr Sy Tn Tu(A E) [Au nAu(A L) nAz(C F G J L M P S T) Be(B L) Bl(I M N) nBr Cs Es Fe nGa(C) Ga(F) Gg(A D G) nHb Hb(E N) He Ho Hs(A S) Hu aIs nIt La Lt Lu Md(D M P) No Po Rf(C NW) aRm nSa Sg Sk Sr Su Uk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Updates in the Flora of the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean) Stephen Mifsud  (2007)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (8 images)
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-0.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-1.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-2.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-3.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-4.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-5.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-6.
   Oxalis corniculata   -   Image Code: OXLCO-7.

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