creeping oxalis, yellow oxalis
Oxalis corniculata var. microphylla Hook.f.; ?Oxalis corniculata var. ciliifera (Cunn.) Hook.f.
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
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.
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. Australia, New Zealand and probably the western Pacific. Naturalised in parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. In New Zealand present on the Three Kings, North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.
Coastal to subalpine (up to 1100 m a.s.l.). However, mostly in lowland areas. Common in urban areas and in disturbed or successional indigenous habitats. Rarely in dense forest (though often colonising tracksides) and tussock grassland.
Perennial herb without bulbils; taproot absent or weakly developed. Stems creeping or ascending up to 380 mm long, very sparsely antrorse-hairy. Leaves all cauline, tufted, 3-foliolate; leaflets sessile, 2.5-6.0 x 3.0-6.0 mm, mostly bright green, cuneate-obcordate, bilobed, glabrous above, pubescent below, margins ciliate, sinus cut to 1/3 leaflet length, lobes obovate, divergent, apices obtuse, 2-3 mm apart; petioles 10-90 mm long, with antrorse hairs; stipules to 2 mm long, conspicuous, with apex lobed or truncate, or inconspicuous with apex tapering abruptly to petiole, more or less ciliate. Inflorescences axillary, 1-2-flowered; peduncles at least as long as leaves, antrorse-hairy; pedicels erect, sometimes deflexed in fruit. Sepals oblong, 1.5-3.0 mm long, ciliate or glabrous; petals yellow, 4.5-9.0 mm long. Capsule 5.0-10.0 mm long, conical to cylindric, usually moderately retrorse-hairy, often with scattered septate hairs; seeds 1.0-1.4 mm long, strongly transversely ribbed.
Rather variable but recognised by the widely creeping habit and lack of bulbils and obvious taproot; inconspicuous to conspicuous, lobed, truncate or tapering abruptly stipules up to 2 mm long; sparsely antrorse hairy stems; short and broad fruits (5.0-11 x 2-3 mm) with tapering apices that are clad in mostly simple (sometimes septate) hairs; and by the 1.0-1.4 mm long seeds which are strongly transversely ridged.
Throughout the year
Throughout the year
Easily grown and weedy. This species is usually present in gardens and it is often the dominant or sole oxalis present in lawns. It is unlikely that people would want to cultivate it.
oxalis: From the Greek word oxus meaning acid or sharp
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
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.
Wilcox, M.D. Creeping Oxalis carpets on Motuihe island. Auckland Botanical Society Journal 56: 19
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Oxalis exilis Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/oxalis-exilis/ (Date website was queried)