Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Mountain Woodsorrel - Oxalis montana   Rafinesque
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Section 6 » Order Geraniales » Family Oxalidaceae
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AuthorRafinesque
DistributionEssentially throughout the mountains, but scarce or absent in several counties that lack high elevations (as this species grows mainly above 4500 feet in elevation).

This is a Northern species, ranging from eastern Canada south to PA, and in the Appalachians south to western NC and eastern TN, disjunctly to GA.
AbundanceFairly common within its limited habitat, though scarce as a whole over the mountains.
HabitatThis is a species of cold to cool forests, at high elevation. It grows best in spruce-fir forests, but it does occur lower into Northern Hardwood Forests and other high elevation forest types.
See also Habitat Account for General High Elevation Forests
PhenologyBlooms mainly from May to July, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is our only white-flowered woodsorrel, all others having yellow or rose-purple flowers. It grows to only 4-6" tall, in dense patches along a rhizome. The leaves are all basal, arising from this rhizome, but the structure of them is like others in the genus -- 3 clover-like leaflets on long petioles. The flowers arise from the rhizome, on long stalks, topped by a "large" (for an Oxalis) white flower of 5 petals, about 1" across. Most significantly, the base of each petal is bright rose-red, and veins are also this same color, yielding a very striking rose and white flower that simply cannot be overlooked in the deep shade of a spruce-fir forest.
Taxonomic CommentsThe species was formerly named as O. acetosella.

Other Common Name(s)White Woodsorrel, Common Woodsorrel, Wood Shamrock
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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