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 mauritiana Lodd.

A bulbous perennial with trifoliate leaves and small pale red flowers, introduced to Britain in 1810.  [Don, LBC no.1780/1831].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This pleasing little plant is a native of the Isle of France: it was introduced in 1810, and flowers in September and October.  We formerly kept it in a stove, but now find that it does quite as well in the greenhouse.’  [LBC no.1780/1831].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.376/1843].


Knuth considers Oxalis mauritiana Lodd. to be synonymous with Oxalis violacea L., synonyms Acetosella violacea (L.) Kuntze, Jonoxalis violacea (L.) Small, a North American species.  [Engler & Knuth – Das Pflanzenreich IV. 130 Oxalidaceae p.271/1930].

Oxalis violacea is a native of North America, from New England to Carolina.  The leaves are smooth, varying with regard to colour, sometimes quite purple on the under surface, sometimes only slightly tinged; in plants that do not flower they grow much larger and are marked with an obscure-purple band on the upper surface also.  They have a pleasant acid taste like our wood sorrel.  Scapes longer than the leaves, terminated with a simple or divided umbel of pale-purple flowers, which are erect while expanded, but cernuous both before and after expansion.  According to Plukenet a capitulum of bulbs is sometimes formed after the flowers drop, as in the Crow-Garlick.  In the flower we examined, the pubescent style was twice the length of the longest stamens, but we are well convinced that the comparative length of the style and stamens is too variable a character to be depended upon to distinguish the species by.  Introduced in 1772, by Dr. Samuel Martin.  Flowers most part of the summer.  Communicated by Mr. Joseph Knight of the Exotic Nursery, King’s-road, in July last.  Hardy, but it is safer to give it the protection of a frame in the winter season.  [BM t.2215/1821].

I have considered it separately here.  If they are synonymous the plants collected in the Isle de France must have been carried there from North America, presumably by colonists.

Published Jan 28, 2010 - 03:43 PM | Last updated Jan 28, 2010 - 03:49 PM

Figured is a low growing plant with trifoliate leaves and purple-pink flowers.  Loddiges Botanical Cabinet no.1780, 1831.

Oxalis mauritiana Lodd. | LBC no.1780/1831 | RBGS

Family Oxalidaceae
Region of origin

Bourbon and Mauritius

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Oxalis Mauritiana 

Confidence level high