noun \äk-ˈsa-ləs\

Definition of OXALIS

Origin of OXALIS

New Latin, genus name, from Latin, wood sorrel, from Greek, from oxys sharp — more at oxygen
First Known Use: circa 1706

Rhymes with OXALIS


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of about 850 species of small herbaceous plants that make up the genus Oxalis, native mostly to southern Africa and tropical and South America. Most members are familiar garden ornamentals. The name (Greek for “acid”) reflects the plant's sharp acidic taste. The common wood sorrel (O. acetosella) of eastern North America and Britain is a small, stemless plant with cloverlike three-part leaves, whose leaflets fold back and droop at night. The flowers have five white, purple-veined petals. After the fruit splits open, the fleshy coat of the seed curls back elastically, ejecting the true seed.


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