Oxalis pes-caprae

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOxalidaceaeOxalisOxalis pes-caprae


This bulbous perennial herb is naturalised as a weed of agriculture, especially in bulb-fields, in milder areas. It does not set seed, but spreads vigorously by easily detached underground bulblets that are resistant to all but the strongest herbicides. Outside the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly, populations are usually casual. Lowland.



World Distribution

Native of S. Africa; widely naturalised in the Mediterranean region.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 5.9

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.1

Annual Precipitation (mm): 861

Life form information

Height (cm): 30

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Bulbous geophyte



Clonality - primary

Detaching ramets at or below ground

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 10

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 10

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

Watson (1997)
Young DP
1958.  Oxalis in the British Isles. Watsonia. 4:51-69.