Oxalis obtusa is common and widespread and found on sandy or clay soils from Namaqualand to Knysna. This species mostly grows to 10 cm and has hairy or hairless leaves of three. Leaves are different shapes and sizes. Flowers are solitary and come in many colors: pink, shades of peach to apricot and orange, brick red, yellow, white, multicolored. Many of the colors and forms are pictured below. In different years, in different light, and in different stages of bloom the colors do not look the same as photos of the same form below demonstrate. The first photo shows scanned flowers of the different colors and the second is a composite of individual pictures of Oxalis obtusa in Ron Vanderhoff's collection.
As is the case with many other Oxalis species, there is a great deal of variation not only in flower colour, but also in leaf shape, of specimens of Oxalis obtusa. Normally such differences would be small within a population and more marked between populations, but the first two pictures show differences in flower colour and leaf size of plants in Grootvleipas (Namaqualand). The third photo is of a yellow form of O. obtusa from Springbok. The bulbs are still immature, and the leaves show different stages of development. Note the prescence of the short broad immature leaves and the longer slender adult ones on the same plant (bottom right). Photos by Christiaan van Schalkwyk.
In the Little Karoo in South Africa in September 2003 a large patch was seen in bloom making the area look apricot-orange from a distance. From a distance they all looked the same color but up close there were many variations. Here are two. Photos by Bob Rutemoeller.
There were many variations in colors seen in populations photographed near Middelpos in the Roggeveld September 2006 by Mary Sue Ittner. Ones growing under shrubs where they had some protection seemed more vibrant. The last picture shows them in mass blooming along with other spring flowers.
Here is a magnificent white form of Oxalis obtusa, from Springbok. Also a dwarf pink form. Photos by Christiaan van Schalkwyk.
The first two pictures are two color forms growing in Northern California, descendants of ones grown by Michael Vassar. The third photograph shows four varieties blooming in a cold frame winter 2005. The last photo shows corms on a 1 cm grid. Photo 1 was taken by Bob Rutemoeller and the rest by Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa 'Elizabeth' is an attractive yellow form with an orange central ring. The first photo by Michael Mace is of it. The second photo from Christiaan van Schalkwyk is of a similar form called Oxalis obtusa 'Yellow and Red'.
Oxalis obtusa MV4719d was collected by Michael Vassar "30km up road to Witteberg Mtn, south of Laingsburg." The flowers are straw colored, with an orange-pink central ring and yellow center. The first photo shows the flower; the second shows the markings on the reverse. Photos by Michael Mace.
Oxalis obtusa MV5005a was collected 10 km n of Matjiesfontein. It has coppery-red flowers with darker veining and a yellow center with the backs of the petals streaked with red. Leaves are very hairy and notched at the tips. It is a long blooming dependable variety in Northern California. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa MV5051 is a Michael Vassar accession collected at Vanrhynshoek that has coppery-apricot flowers with golden highlights and darker veining and a yellow center. In habitat this was a very small plant. The first photo was taken by Kristina Van Wert (Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens). The other photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa MV5516 photo by Kristina Van Wert (Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens) of a Michael Vassar accession of one collected 7.5 km S of Nieuwoudtville. This variety has light yellow flowers above the leaves. Similar to this one is Oxalis obtusa MV5401. It came with the name O. sanderiana attached to it, a name which does not exist. Photo by Christiaan van Schalkwyk.
Oxalis obtusa MV 6235 is a Michael Vassar accession found west of Sutherland with glowing copper flowers with darker veining and a greenish yellow center. Bulbs are sharply pointed on the top and bottom. This is a dense plant with small leaves that has been a good performer in Northern California blooming for a long time (two to four months) winter into spring. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa MV 6341 was collected in the Nieuwoudtville area. It was described as having leaves in a tight compact rosette with yellow flowers held above the leaves. The plants received under this name have very heavy veining and look more cream with a touch of pink than yellow. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa MV 7085 is a Michael Vassar accession with salmon flowers on a low spreading plant. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa MV 7087 is a Michael Vassar accession that is described as having large pink flowers with a yellow center. I'd call them more of a peachy pink. Photo by Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa Namaqualand form: These are photographs from the "typical large flowered Namaqualand form" of Oxalis obtusa. The plants are generally small, 5 to 8 cm. in height, with the large flowers extended high above the leaves. The first two are from Concordia (north of Springbok), and the third from near Hondeklipbaai. The fourth is from a plant received as Oxalis comosa, which it is not. As with all other forms of Oxalis obtusa, the bulbs look like raisins: small, black, and with lots of ridges. Photos 1-4 by Christiaan van Schalkwyk. Photos 5-6 were taken by Mary Sue Ittner of blooming plants in Diana Chapman's collection originally described by Michael Vassar as Oxalis comosa MV7675. It was collected in Namaqualand 2 km east of Naries (east of Springbok) in a winter wet level area and was described as having a 3 cm diameter magenta flowers with a yellow center.
Oxalis obtusa 'Peaches & Cream' is a form sold by Telos Rare bulbs with large cream flowers with a bright peach central ring. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis obtusa 'Sunset' is a form sold by Telos Rare bulbs that has very unusual warm golden-amber colored flowers, with an even warmer colored reverse and is slower to multiply than most. According to Ron Vanderhoff it looks like the Michael Vasser accession MV 7083. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner.
Oxalis index - Miscellaneous Oxalis - Oxalis flava - Oxalis hirta - Oxalis pes-caprae - Oxalis purpurea - South African oxalis A-B - South African oxalis C -South African oxalis D-E - South African oxalis F-G - South African oxalis H-K - South African oxalis L-M - South African oxalis N-O - South African oxalis P - South African oxalis R-S - South African oxalis T-Z - South American oxalis