Oxalis triangularis (false shamrock) is a genus of plants in the Oxalidaceae family. It is the largest species within the family. ‘Oxalis’ is derived from the Greek ‘oxus’ or ‘oxys’ (acid). The leaves that show similarity to those of shamrock are heart-shaped and clustered. They bear a striking resemblance with shamrock, but false shamrock has a slightly larger centre leaf. Most Oxalis species are sensitive to frost. Therefore these plants are mostly kept in pots and are placed in a cool frost-free place in order to survive the winter. When planted in the soil, Oxalis should be covered with leaves in autumn. In that case there is a good chance that the plants will sprout again in spring. Flowering season: April – June when planted in the soil, nearly year-round when planted in a pot.
The genus can be found nearly everywhere in the world, except in polar regions.
The pedicel as well as the flowers and leaves are edible. Oxalis triangularis is used in e.g. mixed salads, mayonnaise, yoghurt, together with fruit and tomatoes. The leaves and pedicel also taste good in mashed potatoes and cabbage. Oxalis triangularis contains oxalic acid, just like rhubarb, so please use in moderation.
The flowers have a lovely limelike flavour: slightly sour, fruity, spicy and also a bit sweet.