The most prolific plant in your garden plot

As you stroll among Harvest Farm Community Garden’s plots, what’s the most common plant in them? Tomatoes? Peppers? Chances are, you are likely to see more Oxalis than any other species. Also called wood sorrel or yellow wood sorrel, it’s a native perennial with leaves that resemble tiny three-leaf clover on stems nearly as thin as thread. The best control is hand pulling as early as possible while the plants are young and not well established. Oxalis spreads vegetatively – by sending up new plants from nodes along underground rhizomes – but even more importantly, by an unusual method of seed dispersal. This hardy legume grows tiny pods filled with lots of seeds. Once mature and dry, if the pods are bumped or split, they eject seeds in every direction, up to 15 feet away. So, although wood sorrel is desirable in natural woodland settings: Juncos, sparrows and various songbirds feed on the seeds and certain butterflies nectar on the blossoms, it’s less welcome in your garden plot.

– Carol Hassell