Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Tufted Yellow Woodsorrel - Oxalis colorea   (Small) Fedde
Members of Oxalis with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Oxalidaceae
Author(Small) Fedde
DistributionScattered over much of the Piedmont, though rare to absent in the northwestern portions. Also a single record for the southeastern Coastal Plain (Pender County).

This is a Southern species, ranging north to eastern MD and MO, south to northern FL and LA.
AbundanceRare to uncommon in the southern Piedmont, but rare in the northeastern Piedmont, and perhaps absent north and west of Catawba, Rowan, and Alamance counties. This entity is not ranked by the NCNHP, and the website editors suggest a State Rank of S2?, and it be put on the state's Watch List.
HabitatThis species is found primarily in upland, open woods, often in dry situations such as around rock outcrops. More information on habitats is needed for NC.
PhenologyBlooms from March to May, rarely later; fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThe many species of yellow-flowered Oxalis are quite similar to each other, with small details separating most. All are small, branched, with numerous 3-parted, clover-like leaves on long petioles, and inflorescences of bright yellow, 5-petaled flowers. This species has considerably larger flowers than the others in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, such that the spread flower is about 1.5 inches across instead of about 3/4-1-inch across in others. Stems are +- densely spreading-hairy. This latter character will separate O. colorea from O. florida, with which it has often been included. This is a quite showy wildflower, with flowers much larger than the commonly seen woodsorrels in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, rivalling the size of the quite showy O. grandis of our Mountain region (and the apparently historical O. macrantha from Stanly County).
Taxonomic CommentsConfusing. RAB (1968) listed this taxon as a variety of O. florida, as O. florida var. recurva. The species seems to be similar to, if not confused with, O. macrantha, which had been named as O. priceae! Some references even name the entity as O. priceae ssp. colorea!

Other Common Name(s)Small's Woodsorrel
State Rank[S2?]
Global RankGNR
State Status[W7]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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Carol Ann McCormickSame data CaswellPhoto_natural
Carol Ann McCormickSame data. CaswellPhoto_natural
Carol Ann McCormickCaswell Game Land, Spring of 2023. CaswellPhoto_natural
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