Wood Sorrell (Oxalis Acetosella)

Wood Sorrell is found mainly in old or ancient broad leaf woodlands but it can grow in the shade and acid soils of evergreen woods as well.  It prefers shade and creeping plant of between 5 and 15cm in height with distinctive lime green shamrock shaped leaves and between April and May white flowers.  In deeply shaded woods its green leaves can be a real splash of colour and some have described the leaves as looking almost like lettering and the leaf shape has been likened to Episcopal headgear.

The leaves are deniable with a sharp fruity taste, like green grape skin and the plant has been used a vegetable for 600 years in the UK and was actually cultivated in the 15th and 16th century and still widely used in kitchen gardens in the 17th century.  Its cooking uses include inclusion in salads and mixed with sugar as a sauce for meat, traditional recipes recommend Sorrell being used with tomatoes and on fungi/ mushroom dishes. Folklore claims that if fed to a horse it can increase the horse’s speed.

One word of warning, Wood Sorrell contains oxalates which if consumed in large quantities can be harmful, but when used sparingly in salads and cooking this is not a problem.