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Plantidote of the Day 2010-12-27

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oxalis

Oxalis pes-caprae

Buttercup oxalis or Bermuda oxalis

A native of South Africa, buttercup oxalis was originally brought to America as a decorative landscape plant. It's such a sweet little thing, with its shamrock-like leaves and bright yellow blossoms nodding gracefully on slender stems. Plus, it's low maintenance and it blooms in the winter; the one shown here is in bloom right now! Cheerful, resilient, attractive -- clearly a plant with no downside, right?

Wrong, according to California Invasive Plant Council, which says buttercup oxalis is turning up in places where it does not belong, like agricultural fields. These plants will also pop up on lawns and gardens, whether you want them to or not. Getting rid of oxalis is like removing mint from a garden -- next to impossible. The one pictured here is growing in a pot, which prevents the rhizomes and bulbs from fulfilling their mission of global domination. So far, so good...

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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