Oxalis acetosella

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOxalidaceaeOxalisOxalis acetosella


A perennial creeping herb of woodland, hedgerows, banks, and other moist, usually shaded, habitats; also in rough montane grassland, grikes in limestone pavement, Vaccinium communities, bryophyte-rich block screes, and rock ledges. It grows on both calcareous and non-calcareous soils, though only those which are moisture-retentive. It is one of the few species able to survive the deep shade of conifer plantations. 0-1160 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurasian Boreo-temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 4

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 4

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.4

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1138

Life form information

Height (cm): 10

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2393

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 791

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2

Atlas Change Index: -0.74

Weighted Changed Factor: -11

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (95b)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Packham JR
1978.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 141. Oxalis acetosella L. Journal of Ecology. 66:669-693.
Young DP
1958.  Oxalis in the British Isles. Watsonia. 4:51-69.