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Oxalis perdicaria 'Citrino' - plant of the month Nov 2016

Found under several synonms, Oxalis perdicaria now seems to be the accepted name of the frequently encountered O. lobata and O. mallobolba.  The RHS Advisory Panel on Nomenclature & Taxonomy in June 2007 recommended using the name Oxalis perdicaria even though the name O. lobata was published in 1823 and the name O. perdicaria in 1833 ( the norm is for the earliest published name to take presedence) it is reported that the name perdicaria (from perdiz = "partridge") was retained  because of the cultural importance where the plants are native. It comes from eastern Argentina, southern Brasil and central Chile, growing in thin grassland, scrub clearings and fields at low altitudes up to about 500m.

O. perdicaria has  fresh green trifoliate leaves, of which one leaflet of each stands up, giving a 3-D effect to the leaf, these first appear in spring with no flowers before vanishing for the Summer months. Towards the latter part of September through October, new leaves appear and this time they are accompanied by  the normal tightly spiralled flower buds which, in good light, open producing a light honey-like perfume.

The form known as 'Citrino' can also be found under the name Ezeiza form ( the capital city of the Ezeiza Partido within the Greater Buenos Aires area in Argentina). The flowers are very pale yellow with very faint red markings in the throat of the flower, barely visible on the reverse.

Best in the alpine house, but surviving in sheltered sites outside where the normal invasive habit of its near relatives is held in check by any severe dip in the weather over winter.

Oxalis perdicaria 'Citrino', along with the nominate form make excellent pot plants as can be seen from the image shown above - exhibited by Keith & Rachel Lever of Aberconwy Nurse at the Loughborough Autumn Show 2012 where it received a Certificate of Merit. It received a Preliminary Commendation (PC) and Cultural Commendation (CC)  from the RHS Joint Rock Committee at the Newcastle show the same same year.

 

 

 

Ray Drew
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