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 tetraphylla Cav.

Frost-hardy clump-forming perennial with leaves consisting of 4 roughly inversely-triangular leaflets, usually purple at the base, and loose, umbel-like cymes of 4-12 funnel-shaped, reddish-purple flowers, with greenish yellow throats in spring and summer.  [RHSE, Hortus].  Oxalis deppei and O. tetraphylla, generally regarded as synonymous are sometimes treated as  separate, but very similar species from Mexico.  For convenience they are treated separately here.  See Oxalis deppei Schlecht. ex Hemsl. for more information.

Horticultural & Botanical History

There are a number of garden forms.  ‘It was introduced some years since.  While in a weak state the leaves are in threes, but when strong, always in fours.’  [LBC no.790/1824].  Oxalis deppii was introduced to Britain in 1827 and O. tetraphylla in 1823.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.380/1843].  A form with purplish-pink flowers still grows in the gardens in three distinct locations.


Published Jan 28, 2010 - 02:57 PM | Last updated Jan 28, 2010 - 03:01 PM

Shown are leaves with 4 leaflets with a brownish line across and purple-pink flowers.  Loddiges Botanical Cabinet no.790, 1824.

Oxalis tetraphylla Cav. | LBC no.790/1824 | RBGS

Family Oxalidaceae
Region of origin


  • Oxalis deppei Schlecht. ex Hemsl. 
Common Name

Good luck plant, Lucky clover

Name in the Camden Park Record

Oxalis tetraphylla 

Confidence level high