Nature Notes

Vol. X March, 1932 No. 3

Sure - But 'tis Not a Shamrock!

In the early spring -- which we hope isn't far off here in the park -- folks who answer to O'Toole or Flannagan or McCafferty might get what would first appear to be a pleasant surprise should they wander over the trails that cleave narrow aisles in the deep timber of the mountain's lower slopes. In places the earth will be thickly carpeted with the light green foliage of the Wood Sorrel which at first glance bears a striking resemblance to the foliage of clover. Many people believe this plant to be just that and one needs only to stretch the imagination slightly to visualize it as the shamrock.

Yet, even to the most loyal Irishman (this being the month in which wearers of the green achieve popular prominence) would not be too disappointed in learning the true identity of the plant. Wood Sorrel For it adds much to the beauty of our woodlands in the early spring months even though a myriad of other flowers are bidding for attention.

The Wood Sorrel or Oxalis - which is its generic term - belongs to the plant family of the same name being in no way related to the plant which it superficially resembles. If one were to chew a portion of the stem he would noticed a sour taste which accounts for the generic title, "oxalis" which is greek four sour. The leaves, bearing several leaflets, are borne in clusters from a central point. These leaflets have a peculiar habit of folding, whenever too hot or too cold for the plant and this is one of its most noticeable characteristics. The flowers are of a pale pink. Watch for this plant when you visit the Park in May!


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