Oxsalis (sour grass)

Oxallis is the scourge of every gardener in Northern California. Every fall I promise myself I will get out and pull it up as soon as the first clover shaped sprouts appear or put down ugly black plastic or news paper for mulch. I do a good job  of weeding and mulching for a while, until something always  happens like;  rain, the flu or the ennui of winter then this yellow plague gets ahead of me.

For every flower there is a bulb growing underground sucking up nutrients that my tomatoes or lettuces will soon need. Arrrgggg I howl.  Sure I could leave them however, in late July oxalis just suddenly dies off leaving me nothing but a patches of  dry, dirty-yellow straw all over my yard.

There are some good things to say about sour grass, as I use to called it when I was a kid I would pick it and suck the stems  for its puckrey sour  juice. It is pretty and bright in the dark of winter. So lovely, in fact, that we use to let it grow until Easter to create a lot of  fun  and pretty hiding places for eggs.

I grew up in snow country which made outdoor egg hunts rare if not impossible, so they always seemed magical. Not like the ugly magic trick that these *&%# flowers play by come up every year when I didn’t even plant them!

This year I proclaimed “if I you can’t beat it I might as well enjoy  it” and went out and photographed my sour grass. crop. Then went to town pulling up that devilish weed long before Easter.

6 thoughts

  1. Oh, I loved both your photo and your words. You brought back memories of my childhood sucking on sour grass, I remember holding poppies up under each other’s chins and if it looked golden, that meant the person liked butter!!! Where do kids get these things?


  2. Carol, it grows from bulbs? I had no idea. And sour grass, what a great name for it. I had never heard that. I take it our wood sorrel is Cape Sorrel or an invasive from South Africa? But it is pretty. I don’t garden, so I just enjoy the yellow flowers.


      1. Oxalis is so easy to pull out compared to these calla lily bulbs, which I think are arum lily. They are total weeds and take over the small garden I have. They do not bloom as calla lilies, but instead have these rather ugly bulbous things. Do you know what I am talking about?


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