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 palustris St. Hil.

Frost-tender bulbous perennial with 3 leaflets, somewhat triangular, with rounded sides, somewhat like the wings of a butterfly, and umbels of many purple flowers.  To 8cm.  [Don, LBC no.1551/1831].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

Oxalis palustris and O. papiloniaceae were often treated as separate species, introduced to Britain in 1828 and 1819 respectively.  O. palustris is described as having lilac flowers.  [JD].  ‘This [Oxalis papilionaceae] is a native of Mexico, and was introduced by Mr. Barclay, from whom we received it.  The name has probably been given to it from the resemblance, which we may fancy in the leaflets, to the wings of a butterfly.’  [LBC no.1551/1831].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.377/1843].


A plant growing in the gardens and identified as Oxalis latifolia Kunth bears a very strong resemblance to Oxalis palustris. In the wild these plants appear to occupy the same range, at least in MexicoI have seen nothing in the literature that relates these plants but this should be explored. Oxalis latifolia Kunth is a very common garden weed in the Camden area.

Published Jan 28, 2010 - 04:37 PM | Last updated Jul 29, 2010 - 01:40 PM

Figured are leaves, with 3 triangular leaflets, and purple-pink flowers.  Loddiges Botanical Cabinet no.1551, 1831.

Oxalis palustris St. Hil. | LBC no.1551/1831 | RBGS

Family Oxalidaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Oxalis papilionacea Willd. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Oxalis papilionacea 

Confidence level high