WOW: Wood Sorrel

One of our favorite garden weeds is wood sorrel, also known as sour grass. With it’s bright green leaves and pert yellow flowers, it lends a cheerful air to shadier areas in garden beds, lawns, woodland margins, etc.

We love it’s lemony tartness in salads, sandwiches, smoothies and soups. Once the tomatoes come in, lunch often consists of tomatoes chopped with wood sorrel, basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of Herbamare or salt. Simple, quick and oh so satisfying. And literally mouth-watering. Seriously. Try a bite. I defy you not to salivate! This is a handy trick when hiking with thirsty kids.

Leaves are a sunny light green and are divided in three heart-shaped leaflets with a center crease that allows the leaves to fold down at night or under stress. Although sorrel leaves are lighter green, their shape is otherwise quite similar to those of clover. Flowers are a bright golden yellow, with five petals. Other varieties of this weed have pink or white flowers, but in our area, yellow is the dominant color.

Medicinally, wood sorrel is a wonderful source of comfort for several ailments. As with plantain or yarrow, you can crush the leaves and put them on wounds or burns to promote healing. An infusion is helpful for digestive maladies, as well as for reducing fevers.¬† High in niacin, thiamin, riboflain and Vitamin C, wood sorrel can be a nutritious addition to your diet . A note of caution, however — it does contain oxalic acid¬† (also found in spinach, rhubarb, parsley, etc) and should be used in moderation. Those with gout and other conditions that are irritated by oxalic acid should probably forgo the pleasures of this mouth-puckering herb.

If you aren’t already familiar with wood sorrel, you will soon discover that it’s lurking about in shady spots all around you. Find a spot that is unlikely to be contaminated by pesticides, auto exhaust, etc and enjoy!


  1. says

    I LOVE sorrel! Tried it for the first time a couple of years ago at the local farmer’s market. I love the tartness!

  2. Riley says

    I came home from my run this morning and went out onto the back slope to do some weeding and there I found a familiar-looking plant. I pulled the ‘weed’ and ate some of the leaves and was amazed. It was like eating a salad with a built-in lemon dressing. I continued to eat nearly all the wood sorrel I could find amongst the other plants I pulled from around the juniper bushes and came in from the garden feeling rather satisfied. I even transplanted some into flowerpots on the wall, next to the rocket. Next time I’m hungry outside I’ll have a lemon-pepper salad of sorrel and rocket! Thank you for introducing this plant to me, thank you!!!

  3. Sabrina says

    Riley, is it wrong to be laughing while reading your post as you describe how you grazed in the lawn? What did the neighbors think? Kidding aside, it is so yummy. Glad you found a treasure trove of it in your own backyard!