WSU Extension


Weeds : Oxalis (Creeping woodsorrel) : Oxalis corniculata
(revision date: 4/7/2021)

Family: Oxalidaceae
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Creeping woodsorrel is a prostrate plant, initially growing from a slender taproot. Branches lie flat on the ground, rooting at the nodes to form new plants. The leaves consist of three heart-shaped leaflets joined to a long petiole. Leaves are alternate and may be green to purplish or maroon in color. The leaves often close and droop at night. Flowers are borne in groups of one to five blossoms on slender stalks. Each flower has five yellow petals and is typically about 1/4 inch long. Seeds are borne in pointed, elongate capsules that open explosively when dry, especially if the plant is disturbed. The seeds are reddish and have a rough surface. Yellow woodsorrel (O. stricta) is very similar in appearance and habit, but has a more upright growth habit. SPECIAL INFORMATION: Plants in the genus Oxalis, including creeping woodsorrel, should be considered toxic, as they may accumulate high levels of oxalic acid in the plant tissues.
Creeping woodsorrel can be found in cultivated areas including gardens, lawns, and flower beds, as well as waste places and roadsides. It can also be a greenhouse weed.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Reduce weed establishment by maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition.
  • Weed infestation can be reduced by cultivation methods such as rototilling or hoeing, where practical.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label directions. NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • dichlobenil
  • products containing triclopyr
Turf areas
  • triclopyr
Bare ground areas
  • triclopyr
  • dichlobenil
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Caption: Woodsorrel leaves and flower
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Caption: Oxalis in mulch
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Oxalis near sidewalk
Photo by: T. W. Miller