Oxalis corniculata L.

Oxalis corniculata L.




Oxalis repens Thunb, Oxalis javanica Blume.

Vernacular Names


Sikap dada (Peninsular).


Indian sorrel, creeping wood-sorrel, procumbent yellow sorrel.


Daun asem kecil (Sumatra), calingcing (Sundanese), semangnen (Javanese).

Papua New Guinea

Kokavu (Kami, Eastern Highlands), akler (New Britain).


Taingan-daga (Tagalog), marasiksik (Iloko), daraisig (Bikol).


Sikap dada.




Chantoe phnom kok.


Som ten kalm.


Phak waen (Central), som sangka (Chiang Mai), som din (Mae Hong Son).


Me d[aas]t, chua me ba ch[if]a, toan t[uw][ow]ng th[ar]o.

Geographical Distributions

Oxalis corniculata is a cosmopolitan weed of unknown origin, although a southern European origin has been postulated. It occurs throughout Southeast Asia, but is scarce in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sulawesi.


Oxalis corniculata is a perennial, creeping or ascending small herb, with stems measure up to 50 cm long and rooting at the nodes. The main root is fibrous. In old plants, it sometimes develops into a thickened and woody rootstock. There are several stems from the main root. They are branching and hairy.

The leaves are arranged alternately, digitately 3-foliolate, with petiole 1-5.5(-10) cm long while the stipules are small and measure up to 3 mm long. The leaflets are broadly obcordate to elliptical-obcordate, measuring 4-20(-25) mm x 5-18(-25) mm and hairy to silky beneath.

The inflorescence is cymose to pseudo-umbellate, and with a 1-6(-8)-flowered stalk. There are two to several bracts which are subopposite to whorled. The flowers are bisexual, radially symmetrical, 5-merous, usually homostylous with mid-styled form and rarely with long-styled form. The pedicel is up to 20 mm long, articulate at base and beneath the sepal. The sepals are imbricate, short connate at base, lance-shaped, measuring 2-6 mm x 0.5-2 mm and sparsely hairy to silky. The petals are contorted, coherent above the claw, spoon-shaped-oblong to spoon-shaped-lance-shaped, measuring 3.5-10 mm x 1-7 mm, hairless and yellow. There are 10 stamens with 5 longer and 5 shorter filaments joined at the base. The shorter is rarely with rudimentary anthers. The ovary is superior, 5-celled, with 5 styles and free with small cylindrical stigmas.

The fruit is linear-cylindrical but sometimes ellipsoid. It is a pentagonal capsule, measuring 9-20(-24) mm x 2-4 mm, hairy, green, opening by longitudinal loculicidal slits and many-seeded. The seeds are flattened-ovoid, measure about 1 mm long and red-brown. The seed coat is with about 3 regular rows of 7-10 transversally connected rows of ridges. The aril is bivalved, membranous and white. Seedling is with epigeal germination, with leafy cotyledons, wedge-shaped base and rounded apex. They are hairless. The hypocotyl is elongated while epicotyl is absent. 

Ecology / Cultivation

Oxalis corniculata is a common weed in gardens, fields, grassland, in roadsides, on river banks and on walls, up to 3000 m altitude. It thrives best in warm, moist, freely drained and fertile soils with a pH of 3.5-6.5. It is commonly found in vegetables, groundnut, maize, soya bean and root crops in the Philippines, and is a weed in tea and rice in Indonesia. In temperate regions, O. corniculata is mainly a problem in greenhouses, but sometimes escapes to establish locally outdoor populations. Its prostrate habit helps to protect it from being mowed in lawns.

Line Drawing / Photograph


Read More

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  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.