In New Zealand this species has been confused with O. stricta and O. perennans. Oxalis stricta is not in New Zealand and O. perennans is an uncommon weed.
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Herbs 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 and New Zealand. In New Zealand widespread in the North, South and Chatham Islands.
Mostly coastal (sometimes inland on limestone bluffs) where it is especially common on sand dunes and associated sand soils. Plants usually grow up through other supporting vegetation and are often missed except when in flower.
Perennial herb without bulbils; taproot stout, woody. Stems usually glabrous sometimes covered in sparse antrorse hairs; erect to ascending up to 380 mm long. Leaves all cauline, sometimes subopposite or whorled, 3-foliolate; leaflets sessile, cuneate-obcordate, 2-9 x 2-11 mm, angular, bilobed, purplish-green to subglaucous, more or less glabrous above, sparsely pubescent below, margins ciliate, sinus cut to about half leaflet length, lobes oblong to obovate, straight divergent, apices broad-obtuse, 1.5-7.0 mm apart; petioles c.7-30 mm long, hairs mostly antrorse; stipules usually conspicuous, to 3 mm long, membranous and truncate or apex tapering abruptly to pedicel, ciliate. Inflorescences axillary 1-2-flowered; peduncles longer than leaves, antrorse hairy; pedicels erect. Sepals oblong, 3-4 mm long, often ciliate; petals yellow 7-11 mm long. Capsule cylindric, 13-24 mm long, thickened in middle, usually densely retrorse-hairy. Seeds transversely ribbed.
Most likely to be confused with O. perennans. which can grow in similar habitats, and from which O. rubens differs by its more erect habit, inconspicuous, keeled stipules, and stout, woody taproot. It has a superficial similarity to O. thompsoniae which differs by its consistently hairy stems, leaves and capsules, shorter fruits and smooth or only weakly ridged seeds.
September - March
October - July
Easily grown from fresh seed and stem cuttings. Not inclined to be as weedy as O. exilis. The purplish-green to subglaucous leaves and large, showy yellow flowers make it particularly attractive. Does best in full sun in a sandy soil. Ideal plant for sand country.
oxalis: From the Greek word oxus meaning acid or sharp
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
A distinctive, potentially undescribed species allied to Oxalis rubens occurs sparingly along the eastern South Island within the montane to alpine zone, where it colonises mainly active and semi-mobile scree.
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.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Oxalis rubens Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/oxalis-rubens/ (Date website was queried)