Oxalis massoniana

Oxalis massoniana

There are around 700 to 800 species of oxalis. No not all of them are weeds. They are most found in South Africa.  The 3 that we keep begin to emerge in autumn and are done and dusted by the time summer comes along. They need a sunny spot in well drained soil.

Description and Distribution:
A winter-growing, dwarf, bulbous perennial, usually clump-forming. The stems are simple, up to 15cm high, upright, hairy with the buds usually reddish.The trumpet-shaped flowers are 16–18 mm long, opening in the sun, with five shiny orange petals and a yellow throat. The name Oxalis, comes from the Greek oxis, which means acid, referring to the sour-tasting sap of some species. (But why would try it??) It grows well in a small pot of rich clay based soil mix. It should be watered in the autumn and winter, but kept dry during the summer. This one does not self seed. The clump just gets bigger.

Background:
The historical connection to this plant is that it is named for Scottish botanist Francis Masson (1741-1805). Working as a gardener at Kew he was sent to South Africa in 1772 to collect seeds and plants for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Masson travelled widely in the Cape over a period of 12 years, making large collections which he sent back to Kew.

Early in 1797 he undertook a collecting trip to Upper Canada. He spent the next seven years collecting plants in the Great Lakes area of Canada. He died in Montreal in December 1805. During his life, Francis Masson had discovered over 1700 new species of plants, and the genus Massonia is named after him.

Availability:
From our nursery

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Posted on

January 23, 2018