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 obtusa Jacq.

Bulbous perennial which grows to about 15cm and bears copper-coloured flowers.  ‘The leaves are cordate, shorter than the peduncle, which has two small linear bractes, about an inch below the flower.  The outer edges of the segments are of a deeper colour, which gives the bud a very pleasing appearance.  Several flowers are produced in succession from a single bulb, lasting a good while, but require sunshine and warmth to open them.’  [LBC no.824/1824].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘We received [Oxalis cupraea] in the summer of 1823, from the Cape of Good Hope, and, in consequence of its late arrival, it did not flower till October and November. […] It may be kept in the green house, and potted in sandy peat and loam: it increases itself by offsets from the root.’  [LBC no.824/1824].  ‘The foliage of this very pretty plant only rises to 2 or 3 inches, but forms a lovely green carpet.  The flowers are of a pretty yellow, slightly tinged with coppery colour.  They just rise above the green mass of leaves, and shine with a beautiful striking contrast.’  [FC p.269/1852].  

History at Camden Park

Oxalis cuprea was introduced to Britain in 1822.  [JD].Oxalis cupraea is listed in Loddiges’ 1836 catalogue and marked with a ‘c’ in a copy held at Camden Park.  This means that it was almost certainly grown in the gardens sometime between 1836 and 1845.  ‘Oxalis cuprina’ of the catalogues may well be a typographical error with Oxalis cuprea intended.


The plant figured as Oxalis caprina by both Jacqin [Oxalis: Monographia Iconibus Illustrata tab.76, fig.1/1794] and in Loddiges Botanical Cabinet [LBC no.1109/1826] is almost certainly Oxalis pes-caprae L. which see.  This is an unlikely identification for ‘Oxalis cuprina’.

Oxalis caprina E.Mey. ex Harv. & Sond. (1860) = Oxalis pes-caprae L which see.

Oxalis caprina Thunb. (c.1820) = Oxalis pes-caprae L. which see.

Oxalis caprina Eckl & Zeyh. (1834) = Oxalis livida Jacq.

Published Jan 28, 2010 - 02:18 PM | Last updated Jan 28, 2010 - 02:28 PM

Figured is a low growing plant with trifoliate leaves and copper-coloured flower.  Loddiges Botanical Cabinet no.824, 1824.

Oxalis obtusa Jacq. | LBC no.824/1824 as Oxalis cuprea | HAAB

Family Oxalidaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Oxalis cuprea Lodd.
  • Oxalis framesii L.Bolus
  • Oxalis fimbriata E.Phillips
  • Oxalis atrata Weintraub
  • Oxalis ciliariflora Eckl. & Zeyh.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Oxalis cuprina 

Confidence level medium