Oxalis magellanica


Oxalis: From the Greek word oxus meaning acid or sharp
magellanica: Named after the Magellan Straits in southern South America

Common Name(s)

white oxalis

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Oxalis magellanica G.Forst.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Oxalis lactea Hook.


Indigenous. New Zealand (North, South, Stewart, and Chatham Islands), Australia and South America


Coastal to montane where it is mainly confined to indigenous forested habitats, though sometimes extending into the alpine zone. A species of riparian habitats, usually found within the flood zone of streams and rivers, and around the plunge pools of waterfalls. Provided its habitat is permanently moist it may be found growing in full sun but it is more usually seen in semi-shaded situations.


Rhizomatous or stoloniferous perennial herb without bulbils or taproot and forming dense to diffuse patches up to 100 x 200 mm. Stems slender, internodes much reduced such that leaves appear to be radical. Leaves 3-foliolate, glabrous and dark green to glaucous green above, paler, and sparsely covered in appressed-pubescent hairs beneath, margins ciliate; leaflets sessile, 2-12 x 2-13 mm, broadly obcordate; sinus cut to 1/5 (rarely 1/3) leaflet length with callus in notch, lobes oblong to obovate, apices rounded, 2-6 mm apart; petioles 10-70 mm long, with sparse long spreading hairs; stipules conspicuous, up to 5 mm long, membranous, apex rounded or truncate, glabrous, persistent. Inflorescences axillary, 1-flowered; peduncles usually longer than leaves, sparsely hairy. Sepals elliptic, 3-5 mm long, ciliate; petals white, 6-12 mm long. Capsule ovoid to globose, 4-5 mm long, glabrous. Seeds smooth (without transverse ribs).

Similar Taxa

Easily recognised by the preference for moist riparian habitats in indigenous forest; lack of bulbils; rhizomatous or stoloniferous habit, with shortly erect stems; glaucescent to dark green leaves and large solitary white flowers.


September - March (sometimes year round)

Flower Colours



October - July (often present year round)

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of whole plants. Does best in semi-shade in a permanently moist soil. It does not cope with drying out. An attractive, non-invasive species. A form with double (peloric) flowers is occasionally available from garden centres.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 20

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 November 2005. Description adapted from Webb et al. (1988).

References and further reading

Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons.Christchurch, New Zealand, Botany Division, D.S.I.R.

This page last updated on 12 Nov 2014