Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Oxalis pes-caprae L.
Synonyms: Bolboxalis cernua (Thunb.) Small, Oxalis cernua Thunb., Oxalis libica Viv., Oxalis pleniflora Lanfranco
Common names: African woodsorrel, Bermuda buttercup, buttercup oxalis, Englishweed, sour sorrel (South Africa), sourgrass, soursob, yellow sorrel
Organism type: herb
Oxalis pes-caprae is a short, perennial herb that is native to southern Africa. It mainly reproduces vegetatively via bulbs, and can form large clonal colonies. Colonies flower synchronously, with distinctive bright yellow flowers that are large and cup-shaped. It is commonly found growing in agricultural areas, cultivated areas, fields, disturbed/ruderal zones, gardens, wasteland, riparian zones, dunes and scrubland.
agricultural areas, coastland, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands, urban areas
Oxalis pes-caprae can suppress other ruderal weedy plants, including native species, smothering them and leading to a reduction in biodiversity. The leaves are toxic and can pose a danger to livestock if growing in fields or grassy areas. O. pes-caprae growing in agricultural areas can also be a pest during harvesting and decreasing yield. The presence of O. pes-caprae has been shown to decrease cereal ssed germinability by up to 63%. (EPPO 2006a; Lambdon 2006; Marshall 1987; Petsikos et al. 2007).
Oxalis pes-caprae is listed as an invasive species by the European & Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) (EPPO 2006a).
Native range: South Africa
Known introduced range: Mediterranean Basin (Lambdon, 2006); Australia, New Zealand, United States (California, Arizona and Florida), parts of Asia (USDA-ARS 2008; USDA-NRCS 2010); Bermuda and Gibralter (Varnham, 2006)
Oxalis pes-caprae reproduces vegetatively, via bulbs. The mechanism by which this occurs is an underground movement combination of shoot elongation and root contraction. This results in a very effective method of bulb dispersal. However O. pes-caprae is also very dependent on human and animal-mediated dispersal into new areas. (EPPO 2006b; Pütz 1994).
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
Last Modified: Tuesday, 8 June 2010