Why are there so many varieties of oxalis, also known as wood-sorrel? I suppose as do humans through genetics and the mixing of gene pools, we just keep re-creating species. While it is a fascinating-to-me exploration, I have been thinking anew of the work that other scientists do in protecting the environment and realizing that what started a couple of years ago as an Act of Restorative Kindness once I discovered what was happening on my hillside after the great fire of 2015. When I vowed to build an ARK, I had no idea what would begin to transpire on this mound of dirt.
While bringing the trash bin up the hill Monday, I had noticed new blooms in a patch of ground cover at the bottom of the hill, nestled in amongst the composting leaves from fall and winter. It took most of this morning for me to convince myself of this subspecies of oxalis, combing through the USDA plant database, the Wildflower.org database, Mississippi State University wildflower center, the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, and The Belmont Rooster. Out of the gazillions of photographs of oxalis, I could only find a couple that had markings similar to the tripartite leaves on this plant. While white clover and pink oxalis have been here since the fire, this is the first time I have spotted these beauties. Oxalis leaves are heart shaped variations that can include green or purple, and slight variations of the magenta color. It took a lot of photographs on a lot of websites to realize there are slight variations in the shapes of the leaves and the placement of the magenta marking, but whew! I now know more about the difference between oxalis and clover and shamrock than I ever thought about.
Apparently, plenty of folks will use herbicides to rid their lawn of members of the oxalis family because if you put oxalis in the search box of your web browser, it brings up a gazillion sites for how to kill it with chemicals. I am just averse to spraying poisons on the ground that delivers to my water system, or covers the food that birds, bees, and butterflies eat. I mow the upper part of the hill directly in front of the house, but the perimeters are gone to wild and I love it. I even leave the patches of clover and oxalis in the top section until after they finish flowering–but that is just my preference as I continue to note the benefits it provides to the flora and fauna on the hill.