Places to See Redwood Sorrel
Redwood sorrel folds its leaves when exposed to direct sunlight.
When the leaves are in direct sunlight, they shrivel up and fold downwards within minutes. Sensitive cells in the plant detect the wavelength of light hitting it, causing the leaves to fold downwards when exposed to harsh light. This process is called nyctinasty.
Redwood sorrel’s folding is attributed to its sensitivity to bright sunlight. Because it is adapted to growing in low light conditions, intense light can damage the plant. Thus, folding its leaves is thought to protect it from harm.
To watch a time-lapse of this movement, check out this YouTube video. Please note that the plant shown is Oxalis triangularis, a different plant species in the same family as redwood sorrel.
Redwood sorrel is found on the West Coast of North America, from California to Canada.
It prefers understory habitats, often growing in coast redwood or Douglas fir forests beneath the shade of trees. It is one of the most common plants in the coast redwood understory.
Redwood sorrel leaves resemble clovers.
The leaves are 0.4 – 1.8 inches long. Redwood sorrel also has tiny (0.5 – 0.8 inch) flowers, which range from white to pink in color. Flowers can be seen in bloom from February to September.
Redwood sorrel is a good replacement for English ivy in a native plant garden.
Looking to make the conversion to native plants in your garden? Alternatively, are you looking for more native plants to introduce to your existing native garden? Consider the redwood sorrel. This plant grows well in shady conditions, forming a dense carpet beneath trees.
For more information on the planting and care of redwood sorrel in your garden, check out this article by S.F. Gate.
Cool facts about redwood sorrel:
- Redwood sorrel is truly adapted to shady environments, as it is able to photosynthesize in levels of light that are 1/200th of full sunlight.
- The family name of redwood sorrels, Oxalis, is derived from the Greek word “oxys”, meaning sour. This is because the leaves of plants in this family have a sour taste.
- Beware of eating too much of any plant in this family, as they contain oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can be toxic when consumed in large quantities.