Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Creeping Woodsorrel: Oxalis corniculata

Weed Description:  Erect, stoloniferous perennial that may mimic a summer annual in cooler climates.  Found throughout the United States.

Seedling: Cotyledons smooth, oblong, green.  Margins and veins on lower leaf surfaces of young seedlings are sparsely hairy.

Leaves:  Alternate, long-petiolated, and divided into 3 heart-shaped leaflets.  Leaf margins are fringed with hairs.

Stems:  Green to pink, weak, branched at base, more prostrate than erect to 20 inches tall, varying from smooth to pubescent.   Spreads by stolons, which are aboveground modified stems.

Roots:   Stolons which root at the nodes.

Flowers:  In clusters that arise from long stalks at the leaf axils, consisting of 5 yellow petals, 4-9 mm long.

Fruit:  A capsule that is angulate with flat sides, cylindrical, pointed, and sparsely hairy.   Seed disperse from capsules by explosively ejecting up to 13 feet.

Identifying Characteristics: May be distinguished from Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta) by the presence of aboveground stolons vs. the underground rhizomes of yellow woodsorrel. Also, creeping woodsorrel has a more prostrate growth habit and often has more reddish-purple leaves than yellow woodsorrel.  However, the presence of stolons rather than leaf color should be used to distinguish between the two species, as leaf color is variable in both.