Oxalis lactea Hook.
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.
2n = 20
Current conservation status
The threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
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).
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)
October - July (often present year round)
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.
oxalis: From the Greek word oxus meaning acid or sharp
magellanica: Named after the Magellan Straits in southern South America
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.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Oxalis magellanica Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/oxalis-magellanica/ (Date website was queried)