Wood Sorrel: An Edible Weed and a Gentle Spirit Friend

Wood Sorrel: An Edible Weed and a Gentle Spirit Friend June 12, 2020

Common Wood Sorrel or Oxalis stricta is an amazing weed friend to have.  It is a friendly sort, the kind of plant that children love, and parents love too. There’s no easier way to get kids to eat their vegetables than to have them discover “sour plant” and nom it up.

Here’s a few pics from my Insta feed that show you an up-close look of Wood Sorrel in bloom:



What to do with Wood Sorrel:

Wood sorrel is an edible weed.  It tastes sour and lemony and can be incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day. It’s lovely in salad mixes.  If you have some salad that you’ve grown or bought feel free to add some “lemon leaves” to brighten it up. The flowers and seed pods are also edible and tasty. You can cook it, but honestly, it melts like butter in the sun and what looked like a big pile of sorrel will turn into the tiniest of cooked greens.  There are other greens better suited to cooking. If you want a lemony cooked green, you can grow garden sorrel, which is a wonderful short-lived perennial, or you can harvest lots of sturdier wild greens, like wild rocket or wild mustard.

Where to Find Wood Sorrel:

  • Garden beds
  • Weedy berms
  • Near the base of trees
  • In sunny and partially sunny spots

Don’t harvest near busy roads, parking lots, or near old houses.  These places can have lead or heavy metals in the soil and unless serious remediation is done, plants that grow there are not safe to eat.

How to Identify Wood Sorrel:

Wood sorrel looks a lot like red and white clover, and often you’ll first look at it and think you might just find a lucky 4 leaf clover. However, it’s a different species.  The leaves are small and rather fragile looking compared to the clovers and have no variegation.  Clovers often have a bit of white on their green leaves.  The leaves come in sets of three, and each leaf is distinctly heart-shaped.  If you see the flowers, it’s an easy identification, because they are little and yellow and quite different from clover. The easiest way to know is to taste a leaf. I don’t often recommend taste as an identification method, but since wood sorrel has lookalikes that are safe to eat, it’s a reasonable practice. If it tastes grassy and like a cow would love that, it’s clover. If it tastes lemony and delicious, it’s wood sorrel.

Wood Sorrel watercolor image with yellow blossoms and three heart shaped leaves.

Spiritworking with Sorrel:

Sorrel is a gentle friend.  Spiritually it likes to partner with humans, without being controlled or told what to do.  If you need a bit of gentle cheering up or are dreaming of the woods but don’t have time to get there, try meditating with wood sorrel. Sorrel is sometimes sold as “shamrock plant” in stores, and it’s very pretty, though the original shamrock was clover it doesn’t make a pretty house plant.   I find that if you’re looking to do some luck magic, using red or white clover works better than wood sorrel.

When I meditate with wood sorrel I feel a sparkling resonance develop within my heart and fingertips. Its energy is nourishing and brightening. I highly recommend the most essential of transformational magics with this weed: eat it!

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Thank you so much and may you find joy in the simple things. 


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