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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 11 | Oxalidaceae

3. Oxalis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 433. 1753.

酢浆草属 cu jiang cao shu

Herbs, annual or perennial, usually with tubers, bulbs, or rhizomes. Stems erect, creeping, or absent (rosette). Stipules usually absent or very small. Leaves radical or alternate, 3-foliolate (Chinese taxa). Inflorescences solitary, cymose, or umbellate; peduncle long, with 2 small bracts at apex, bracts appearing to be mid peduncle in solitary-flowered species. Sepals distinct, imbricate. Petals yellow, red, pink, or white, convolute, sometimes basally slightly connate. Stamens all fertile; filaments basally connate or distinct. Ovary locules with 1 to several ovules. Capsule loculicidally dehiscent. Seeds with an outer fleshy coat which bursts elastically.

About 700 species: tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres but extending into temperate regions; eight species (two introduced) in China.

Oxalis bowiei Aiton ex G. Don, which is native to South Africa, is cultivated as an ornamental in China and is often persistent as a greenhouse weed.

Oxalis bulbifera X. S. Shen & H. Sun was described from a single collection in Anhui (Tiantangzhai), Shen Xian-sheng 20088 (holotype, KUN). The type specimen could not be traced in KUN, and no further material was available on contacting the authors. Although described as having affinities with Oxalis acetosella, it differs in several peculiar characteristics: the flowers are solitary or in pairs and the aerial stem is well developed. Even more unusual is the development at the leafless stem apex of "bracts" with bulbils in the axils. These are probably more accurately termed stipules, but the bulbils are a mystery. It is impossible to interpret this very unusual finding without recourse to herbarium material, and as such it is not included in the main account.

1 Stemless bulbous perennials   (2)
+ Bulbs absent, aerial stems well developed or creeping rhizome at or just below soil surface   (3)
2 (1) Petals yellow; leaves glabrous, semisucculent.   3 O. pes-caprae
+ Petals pink; leaves hairy above and below, membranous.   4 O. corymbosa
3 (1) Petals yellow; flowers usually not solitary; aerial stems well developed   (4)
+ Petals white, purplish pink to purple; flowers solitary; plants with creeping rhizome at or just below soil surface   (5)
4 (3) Plants creeping to caespitose, without septate hairs on vegetative parts; stolons absent; flowers in an umbellate inflorescence or solitary; fruiting pedicels deflexed to horizontal.   1 O. corniculata
+ Plants erect to decumbent, with septate hairs on vegetative parts; stolons present; flowers in a cymose inflorescence; fruiting pedicels erect.   2 O. stricta
5 (3) Rhizome less than 3 mm thick (with scales), sparsely or densely clothed with pale brown remains of leaf bases; bracts glabrous or apex pubescent   (6)
+ Rhizome more than 5 mm thick (with scales), densely clothed with dark brown remains of leaf bases; bracts pubescent along midvein and margins   (7)
6 (5) Rhizome less than 2 mm thick with scales; scales glabrous, widely spaced; bracts rounded-ovate, glabrous.   5 O. leucolepis
+ Rhizome ca. 3 mm thick with scales; scales sparsely strigose, congested; bracts lanceolate, apex pubescent.   6 O. acetosella
7 (5) Leaflet blade apex broadly emarginate to subtruncate, lobe apices obtuse; bracts near middle of flowering stem; capsule subglobose to oblong, less than 2 cm.   7 O. griffithii
+ Leaflet blade apex truncate to subtruncate, lobe apices subacute; bracts near base of flower; capsule long conical, more than 2.5 cm.   8 O. obtriangulata

Lower Taxa


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