Oxalis in bloom

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Mon, 07 Apr 2003 21:01:10 PDT
Dear Diana and Ann Marie,

Thanks for your comments on the mystery Oxalis. Diana, your possible 
identification has me a bit puzzled. If I look at the Cape Peninsula Field 
Guide (one of my least favorite of the Kirstenbosch guides) there is a 
drawing of Oxalis caprina that looks like my plant. The text says it blooms 
Mar. to May (Sep to Nov that would be in my hemisphere.) Last year this 
plant bloomed for me in March and April and as I said this year it is still 
going strong from an October start. One that appeared in my unknown pot 
just started blooming last month.

In the Cape Plants book which unlike the Encyclopedia does include Oxalis, 
Oxalis caprina is described as a small weak geophyte, stem absent or very 
short. It says bloom is Apr. to June. Otherwise it sounds right. But this 
one definitely has a stem as the new pictures show.

Second Mike Mace gave me some extra bulbs of Oxalis MV4674 described as 
3/4" pink flowers, tiny tufted plants, tiny lvs. Michael Vassar said it was 
caprina when I wrote and asked. It bloomed for me last year in September 
and October, but didn't bloom this year and has already gone dormant. I 
can't remember what it looked like, but I don't think it looked like the 
one I am asking about. I know that there can be a lot of variation in the 
different species so I am not ruling that out as a possibility.

For Ann Marie, the flowers are 2¼-3¼ cm. (not quite a inch to 1¼ in.) in 
diameter (a bit tricky to measure as they sometimes are folded). The leaves 
are slightly smaller. The effect looking at this plant is a bit like a 
maidenhair fern, very airy. I added these two pictures to the mystery page 
so you can get a better look at the flower and the stem.


Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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