Friday, April 20, 2012

Weed Lovin' Witchery: Yellow Wood Sorrel

The lovable lawn weed series (Purple Deadnettle, Hairy Bittercress, Plantain) continues:

Yellow Wood Sorrel
Oxalis stricta

Yellow wood sorrel is easily distinguished from clovers and black medic by its heart shaped leaves (rather than oval) and cute, five petaled flower (rather than the familiar, spiky looking clover flower). A close relative of yellow wood sorrel in the same family is commonly sold around St. Patrick’s day as shamrock.

 For eating: Tasty, sour, lemony, but not bitter. People have been eating this raw or cooked for ages. I loved the flavor of the oxalis family as a kid and still do. Good with fish or as tea or in a salad. All parts are edible. BUT it contains oxalic acid, so don’t make it the main element of your diet. (Who would? But just in case…) People who have gout, kidney problems, rheumatic conditions and any other quirky problem that reacts to oxalic acid should clearly not eat it.

For healing: High in healthy vitamin C, wood sorrel is also good for stopping bleeding, cooling fevers and soothing the stomach. It is a mild diuretic and can induce appetite in those who are sick. Use in a poultice for swelling.

For witching: Wood sorrel has a rather magical reputation. Like many herbs with healing properties, it is used in healing magic. It also associated with faeries, woodland spirits and luck.

For wildlife: Native to North America & parts of Europe & eaten by butterflies.

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