The white Wood sorrel flowers growing by the side of a woodland stream

Wood Sorrel

Oxalis acetosella

Key Facts

  • Height: up to 10cm

The fresh green, trefoil leaves of Wood-sorrel form distinctive clumps in woodlands and shady hedgerows, often growing from the moss on fallen logs.

Rising from these cushions, the delicate white flowers hang on tiny stems, blooming around Eastertime and giving rise to its popular European name of ‘Alleluia’.

How to Identify

Wood-sorrel has distinctive trefoil leaves – at night, the three, heart-shaped lobes are folded back into a tent; during the day, they flatten out. The white flowers have five petals and tiny purple veins; they also close as the light fades, reopening in the dappled sun.

Where to find


How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for a range of spring flowers, from shamrock-leaved Wood-sorrel to fragrant Ramsons, showy Bluebells to delicate Wood Anemones. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting and ride maintenance open up the woodland floor to the sun, helping many flowers and plants to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland wildlife.

Did you know?

Certain plants are used as indicators of how old a woodland is, although these plants may differ from region to region, simply because habitats, soils and conditions change the flora present. Wood-sorrel is used as an indicator of ancient woodlands mainly in central and southern England

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