Oxalis question

Robin Attrill Robin@rpattrill.freeserve.co.uk
Wed, 25 Sep 2002 15:48:05 PDT
Mary Sue,

I have not noticed this with O brasiliensis, which in my experience
reproduces vegetatively very rapidly. A number of other species that I grow,
both from S Africa and  the Americas, have a tendency to produce large
fleshy contractile roots, which can resemble tubers,  below the corm.
Examples are the winter growing O livida from S Africa and the summer
growing O lasiandra form the Americas.  If removed from soil and left
attached to the bulb the fleshy contractile root withers leaving only the
corm. I do not know whether the root has the potential to regenerate if
detached from the corm and retained in a growing medium. For most Oxalis it
is not an issue due to the tendency to produce abundant daughter corms!

Getting back to O brasiliensis, in my experience it can be induced to grow
at virtually any season given adequate warmth and water. Its precise origin
is rather uncertain but is presumably S American, there being doubt
concerning the original publication details, which are treated skeptically
in the Oxalis checklist produced by the Geraniaceae Group (ISBN

Oxalis bowei, which you mention, is a far superior plant, a lovely winter
grower from S Africa. The flower stems always remind me of the unrelated,
but superficially similar, Primula obconica, but the Oxalis is advantageous
in that it does not possess the allergenic properties of the latter!



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