Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Oxalis debilis Kunth var. corymbosa (D.C.) Lourt.

Half-hardy bulbous perennial with leaves composed of 3 leaflets, to 4.5cm long, rounded sometimes with dark spots beneath and purplish when young, and irregularly branched cymes of up to 15, red to purple flowers, to 1.5cm across, with darker veins, in spring and summer.  To 40cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

The number of synonyms suggests considerable natural variation in the species.  Johnson’s Dictionary lists the yellow-flowered O. martiana as a true species, together with the white-flowered O. urbica, giving a date of introduction of 1829 for the former and 1828 for the latter. 

‘Sent to the Horticultural Society by Professor Lehmann, of Hamburgh, in 1827, with the name here adopted [Oxalis floribunda].  Its native country is not known to us; it probably is South America.  If grown in a pot, in a cool greenhouse, it flourishes exceedingly, soon acquiring the height of a foot or 18 inches, and producing in great profusion loose bunches of rose-coloured flowers, which are placed upon the end of peduncles diverging from the main stem at nearly right angles, and giving the whole plant the air of a vegetable chandelier of many branches.’  The plant figured has purplish-pink flowers with a white throat.  [BR f.1123/1828].

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figures Oxalis bipunctata, the accompanying figure showing a mauvish-purple flower, described as lilac in the text, with a white throat [BM t. t.2781/1827].  Oxalis martiana, said to be a variety of Oxalis bipunctata. is also figured, the flower depicted as reddish-orange, described in the text as ‘deep, purple rose’ [BM t. 3938/1842].  

‘This [Oxalis martii] is a native of Mexico: it has lately been introduced by Mr. Barclay.  The name has been given in honour of that celebrated travellor and botanist Von Martius.’  [LBC no.1523/1831].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.375/1843].  Well established throughout the gardens.  A common weed throughout Australia.


Published Jan 28, 2010 - 03:33 PM | Last updated Jan 28, 2010 - 03:41 PM

Figured are trifoliate leaves and racemes of bright pink flowers.  Loddiges Botanical Cabinet no.1523, 1831.

Oxalis debilis Kunth var. corymbosa (D.C.) Lourt.| LBC no.1523/1831 as Oxalis martii | RBGS

Family Oxalidaceae
Region of origin

South America

  • Oxalis corymbosa D.C.
  • Oxalis martiana Zucc.
  • Oxalis urbica St. Hil.
  • Oxalis bipunctata Grah.
  • Oxalis floribunda Link. & Otto 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Oxalis martiana 

Confidence level high