Wood sorrel

Wood sorrel leaves (Oxalis acetosella)

Table of Contents

Wood sorrel: Plant profile

Common names

Wood sorrel, Fairy Bells, Wood Sour, Cuckoo’s Meat, Seamsóg

Botanical name

Oxalis acetosella


Oxalidaceae (Wood sorrel)


Europe. Widespread all over Ireland and the UK, except the Fens in eastern England.

Where to find wood sorrel

Woodland and shady hedgerows.

When to find wood sorrel

Leaves early spring to mid-autumn.


Wood sorrel forms low growing mats of lush green leaves in shady hedgerows and damp forests around the base of the trees at almost any time of year.

Rising from these carpets, little white flowers with pink or purple veining hang on relatively thin stems. These delicate flowers and soft green leaves fold up its leaves at night and when the conditions are tough.

Medicinal properties of wood sorrel

It has diuretic and astringent properties and is full of vitamin C. Hence, wood sorrel has been used in the past for treating scurvy.

Culinary uses and recipes of wood sorrel

All parts of the plant are edible, including leaves, flowers and stems.

Wood sorrel has a sharp taste somewhere in between apple skin, grape and lemon and can function as aromatic herb, salad leaf or green vegetable. The leaves make a tangy Polish soup and are ideal for fish sauces and zingy salads.

Safe foraging

Just like spinach, it should not be eaten in large amounts due to high content in oxalic acid. Though this is not a problem when you follow a diverse diet, people with gout, rheumatism and kidney stones should avoid it.

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Alvaro Docio

Alvaro Docio

I am the person behind British Local Food. As a forager and wild food educator, my aim is to inspire you to go outdoors, familiarise with your local plants and make the best of their culinary and medicinal properties, in the hope you'd pass on any knowledge gained down to the next generation.

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