Oxalis

Largest genus in the wood-sorrel family Oxalidaceae. Found throughout most of the world except for polar areas; especially rich in tropical Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Plants containing Oxalic acid can be hazardous to humans in certain dosages.

In the “Handbook of Edible Weeds” by Dr. James Duke, the Kiowa Indian tribe purportedly chewed wood sorrel to quench thirst on long trips, while the Potawatomi Indians cooked it with sugar as a dessert. Algonquin Indians considered wood sorrels an aphrodisiac. Other alleged medicinal qualities include easing mouth sores, sore throats, cramps, fever and nausea.

Its fruits are thought to bear similar qualities with a small potato, and have long been cultivated for food in Colombia and South America. To avoid scurvy, sailors travelling around Patagonia ate the leaves as a source of vitamin C. The leaves of common wood sorrel may be used to make a lemony-tasting tea when dried.

 

last update by M 12/7/2012

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