blooming now - weedy Oxalis - now O purpurea and O eckloniana

Christiaan van Schalkwyk
Thu, 13 Jan 2011 03:09:14 PST

> Hi All,
> Im pretty sure its Oxalis eckloniana sonderi. I think that its now In the 
> O. purpurea group.

That is definitely not O eckloniana, and O eckloniana and O purpurea are not 
closely related. Unfortunately a lavender form of O purpurea has been 
circulated widely under the O eckloniana sonderii label. The fact that 
Thunberg originally and in error described O eckloniana var sonderi as O 
purpurea  AFTER O purpurea was described by Linnaes in 1753 may also be a 
problem, but this has been rectified in 1939 by Salter. (Salter reinstuted 
the name O purpurea in the place of O variabilis (Jacq), and renamed the O 
purpurea sensu Thunberg to O exckloniana var sonderii)

The two species are easily told apart when in flower - O purpurea have two 
bracts BELOW the middle of the peduncle (flower stem), while the one or two 
bracts of O eckloniana are close to the calyx, i.e. rather HIGH on the 

Furthermore, O eckloniana belongs to the section Sagittatae. If you pull the 
corolla away so that the stamens and styles are left intact, the short and 
medium stamens or styles opens up and spread wide. Those of the other 
sections (such as section stictophylla, to which O purpurea (L) belongs) 
stay close together.

The bulbs are also different, O eckloniana usually have smooth light brown 
tunics, while that of O purpurea are normally very dark to black, gummy and 
irregular. There are many forms of both species and thus the leaves (number 
of leaflets and shape), the degree of hairyness and other characters are 
useless  for identification purposes.

The Oxalis pictured is probably O. purpurea (L).


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