Oxalis corniculata L.

Last updated: 13 Oct 2016

Scientific Name

Oxalis corniculata L.


Acetosella bakeriana Kuntze, Acetosella corniculata (L.) Kuntze, Acetosella corniculata var. repens (Thunb.) Kuntze, Acetosella corniculata var. subglabra Kuntze, Acetosella cornicualta var. villosa (M.Bieb.) Kuntze, Acetosella fontana (Bunge) Kuntze, Acetosella stricta (L.) Kuntze, Acetosella villosa (Progel) Kuntze, Oxalis albicans Kunth, Oxalis albicans var. sericea DC., Oxalis bradei R. Kunth, Oxalis corniculata subsp. albicans (Kunth) Lourteig, Oxalis corniculata var. atropurpurea Planch., Oxalis corniculata subsp. corniculata, Oxalis corniculata f. erecta Makino, Oxalis corniculata var. langloisii (Small) Wiegand, Oxalis corniculata var, lupulina (Kunth) Zucc., Oxalis corniculata var. papuana R. Knuth, Oxalis corniculata var. pilosiuscula (Kunth) Zucc., Oxalis cornicualata var. purpurascens Speg., Oxalis corniculata var. purpurea Parl., Oxalis corniculata var. repens (Thunb.) Zucc., Oxalis corniculata subsp. repens (Thunb.) Masam., Oxalis corniculata var. sericea R, Knuth, Oxalis corniculata subsp. subglabra Masam., Oxalis corniculata var. taiwanesis Masam., Oxalis corniculata var. villosa (M.Bieb.) Hohen., Oxalis corniculata f. villosa (M.Bieb.) Goiran, Oxalis corniculata var. viscidula Wiegand, Oxalis foliosa Blatt., Oxalis grenadensis Urb., Oxalis herpestica Schltdl., Oxalis langloisii (Small) Fedde, Oxalis lupulina Kunth, Oxalis meridensis Pittier, Oxalis minima Steud., Oxalis nematodes Spreng., Oxalis parvifolia DC, Oxalis pilosiuscula Kunth, Oxalis procumbens Steud. ex A. Rich., Oxalis procumbens subsp. bathieana Lourteig, Oxalis pubescens Stokes, Oxalis radicosa A.Rich., Oxalis repens Thunb., Oxalis repens var. erecta (Makino) Masam., Oxalis repens var. eu-repens A. Chev., Oxalis repens f. speciosa Masam., Oxalis simulans Baker, Oxalis steudeliana Kunth, Oxalis taiwanensis (Masam.) Masam., Oxalis trinidadensis R. Knuth, Oxalis villosa M.Bieb., Oxys corniculata (L.) Scop., Oxys lutea Bubani [Unresolved], Oxys lutea Moench [Unresolved], Oxys lutea Lam. [Unresolved], Oxys stricta All. [Unresolved], Xanthoxalis albicans (Kunth) Small, Xanthoxalis corniculata (L.) Small, Xanthoxalis corniculata f. atropurpurea (Planch.) Nakai, Xanthoxalis corniculata var. atropurpurea (Planch.) Moldenke, Xanthoxalis corniculata subsp. repens (Thunb.) Tzvelev, Xanthoxalis corniculata var. repens (Thunb.) Nakai, Xanthoxalis filiformis (Kunth) Holub, Xanthoxalis langloisii Small, Xanthoxalis parvifolia (DC.) Holub, Xanthoxalis parvifolia (DC.) Holub, Xanthoxalis repens (Thunb.) Moldenke, Xanthoxalis trinidadensis (R. Knuth) Holub. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Sikap dada [2]
English Creeping lady’s sorrel, creeping oxalis, creeping sorrel, creeping wood sorrel, creeping yellow oxalis, Indian sorrel, procumbent yellow sorrel, sour grass, sour weed, wood sorrel, yellow oxalis, yellow sorrel, yellow wood sorrel [2]
China Cu jiang cao, tsao chiang, suan chiang, Hsiao suan tsai, zhuai xin [2]
India Aambotee, ambashta, ambhit, ambiliti, ambo chin-gari, amboti, ambuti, amlalonika, amlapatrika, amlika, amlola, amlotaja, amrul, amrul sak, bankati, bhilmori, cangeri, carngeri, chalmora, chalmori, changeri, chari amilo, chariamilo, chengai tenga, chukrika, chukrita, kait-kai, kalappantatti, kaniyatanayaki, kayankaliyatanayaki, kecari, kecariyarakkirai, kentika, kharta, khati buti, khatt-i-buti, khatta mitha, khatti buti, khatti jari, khati meethi, khattibuti, komproshe, mukhuichangha, navari, naveri, ozhe pito, paliakiri, pawa hiyub, perunkotikkirai, piliccakkirai, puliccakakkirai, puliccirukirai, pulichan, pulikkirai, pulit-tacirukirai, puliyaarila, puliyaarila pacha, puliyancirukirai, puliyankirai, lupiyarai, puliyaral, pulluli soppu, shuklika, siakthur, sialthur, singri-mikhi, sohdkhiew, thezoutsutuo, tin patiya, tinpatia, tinpatiya, tipati, uppili chedi, uppunigida, uthru-mak-mau, uthru-mek-mau, waltung-mak-wap, yensil [2]
Indonesia Calingcing, daun asem kecil, daun asem ketijil, rempi, semanggi gunung, semangnen, tjalingtjing [2]
Thailand Phak waen, som din, som sangka [2]
Laos Som ten kalm [2]
Myanmar Hmô-gyin (Burma) [2]
Philippines Daraisig, iayo, kanapa, kungi, marasiksik, piknik, salmagi, taingan-daga, taingang daga [2]
Cambodia Chantoe phnom kok [2]
Vietnam Chua me b ach[if]a, me d[aas]t, toan t[uw][ow] ng th[ar]o [2]
Singapore Sikap dada [2]
Papua New Guinea Akler, kokavu, zafosri [2]
Bangladesh Amrul, mringblu [2]
Nepal Chari amilo, chariamilo, kyurpu, nakhru pangyun [2]
Pakistan Khatti booti [2]
Tibet Dong ju [2]
Arabic Hamd [2]
East Africa Kajampuni, kidadeishi, manjenju, nandwa, schwatarit [2]
Southern Africa Ranksuring, steenboksuring, tuinranksuring [2]
Congo Lopeto, ngongua [2]
Madagascar Takasimboalova [2]
Tanzania Kaitabatahe [2]
Hawaii ‘ihi ‘ai, ‘ihi ‘awa, ‘ihi maka ‘ula, ‘ihi makole [2]
Tonga Kihikihi [2]

Geographical Distributions

Oxalis corniculata is a cosmopolitan weed of unknown origin, although a southern European origin has been postulated. It occurs throughout Southeast Asia, but is scarce in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sulawesi. [3]

Botanical Description

O. corniculata is a member of Oxalidaceae family [1]. It is a perennial, creeping or ascending small herb, with stems measure up to 50 cm long and rooting at the nodes [3].

The main root is fibrous. In old plants, it sometimes develops into a thickened and woody rootstock. There are several stems from the main root. They are branching and hairy. [3]

The leaves are arranged alternately, digitately 3-foliolate, with petiole 1-5.5(-10) cm long while the stipules are small and measure up to 3 mm long. The leaflets are broadly obcordate to elliptical-obcordate, measuring 4-20(-25) mm x 5-18(-25) mm and hairy to silky beneath. [3]

The inflorescence is cymose to pseudo-umbellate, and with a 1-6(-8)-flowered stalk. There are two to several bracts which are subopposite to whorled. [3]

The flowers are bisexual, radially symmetrical, 5-merous, usually homostylous with mid-styled form and rarely with long-styled form. The pedicel is up to 20 mm long, articulate at base and beneath the sepal. The sepals are imbricate, short connate at base, lance-shaped, measuring 2-6 mm x 0.5-2 mm and sparsely hairy to silky. The petals are contorted, coherent above the claw, spoon-shaped-oblong to spoon-shaped-lance-shaped, measuring 3.5-10 mm x 1-7 mm, hairless and yellow. There are 10 stamens with 5 longer and 5 shorter filaments joined at the base. The shorter is rarely with rudimentary anthers. The ovary is superior, 5-celled, with 5 styles and free with small cylindrical stigmas. [3]

The fruit is linear-cylindrical but sometimes ellipsoid. It is a pentagonal capsule, measuring 9-20(-24) mm x 2-4 mm, hairy, green, opening by longitudinal loculicidal slits and many-seeded. [3]

The seeds are flattened-ovoid, measure about 1 mm long and red-brown. The seed coat is with about 3 regular rows of 7-10 transversally connected rows of ridges. The aril is bivalved, membranous and white. Seedling is with epigeal germination, with leafy cotyledons, wedge-shaped base and rounded apex. They are hairless. The hypocotyl is elongated while epicotyl is absent. [3]


O. corniculata is a common weed in gardens, fields, grassland, in roadsides, on river banks and on walls, up to 3000 m altitude. It thrives best in warm, moist, freely drained and fertile soils with a pH of 3.5-6.5. It is commonly found in vegetables, groundnut, maize, soya bean and root crops in the Philippines, and is a weed in tea and rice in Indonesia. In temperate regions, O. corniculata is mainly a problem in greenhouses, but sometimes escapes to establish locally outdoor populations. Its prostrate habit helps to protect it from being mowed in lawns. [3]

Chemical Constituent

O. corniculata levaes has been reported to contain flavanoid compounds (e.g. 2'-O-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-isovitexin, ascorbic acid, carotene, tartaric acid, citric acid, mallic acid, isoorietin, isovitexin, swertsin). [4]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant [5][6][7]

Traditional Use

O. corniculata plant is considered cooling, refrigerant, appetizing and stomachic. Juice of the fresh leaves of O. corniculata is useful in the treatment of dysentery, prolapsed of the rectum, typanites and piles. [5]

This juice in a dose of six teaspoons three times per day is given in cases of stomach acidity, peptic ulcer, diarrhea and dysentery. [6]

In Tonga the plant is used to treat mouth ulcers in children. [7] Infusion of the leaves is given to children with hookworms and also as antiemetic. [8]

The Punjabis make use of the leaves to treat various skin conditions. The juice of the plant mixed with onion is used to remove warts and corns and excrescence of the skin. Juice of the leaves with pepper powder and ghee is applied on red-spots or eruptions on the skin. Poultice made from the leaves when applied on inflammatory skin condition helps relieve pain and inflammatory symptoms. [9]

Fresh leaf juice of O. corniculata is an antidote for datura intoxication and is said to be useful in difficult micturation. [5] This juice can be used for conjunctivitis, removal of foreign bodies in the cornea and corneal opacity and earaches. [5][6][9]

In Tonga the plant is used to treat umbilical infection and enhance closure of the fontanels. [7]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

Powdered leaves of O. corniculata were subjected to extraction by the following solvents: petroleum ether, benzene, chloroform, methanol and ethanol and these extracts were tested for their antibacterial activity against three important Xanthomonas and fourteen human pathogenic bacteria. Only two extracts i.e. the methanol and ethanol extracts showed significant antibacterial activity when compared with K-cycline and Bact-805 for plant pathogens. It was found that the phenolic components were responsible for the antibacterial activity. [10]

A study conducted to determine the antiprotozoal activity of extracts of O. corniculata lead to the characterization of a galacto-glycerolipid which showed significant activity against two protozoal i.e. Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia two organisms which causes dysentery in humans. [11]

Cardioprotective activity

Aqueous extract of O. corniculata prior to experimental induction of myocardial infarction using isoproterenol in rats, there was a significant reduction in concentration of CPK, LDH and total serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Apart from this, there were also reduced activities of lipogenjc enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, oxidative stress was reduced evidenced by the increased activities of antioxidant enzymes (catalase and superoxide dismutase) and reduced concentration of lipid peroxidation products (TBARS and conjugated dienes). Concentrations of vitamin C, protein sulfhydryl groups and reduced glutathione (GSH) were also high. All these findings is believed to have contributed to the protective effects of the extract on the rat myocardium. [12]

Antioxidant activity

The aqueous extract of O. corniculata reported antioxidative activities as evidenced by increased antioxidant enzymes (catalase and superoxide dismutase) activities and reduced concentration of lipid peroxidation products (TBRAS and conjugated) dienes) i.e. significant radical scavenging activity against DPPH, superoxide and nitric oxide radicals. [12]

Antihyperlipidemic activity

The aqueous extract of O. corniculata reported antihyperlipidemic activity as evidenced by the reduction of total serum cholesterol, LDH cholesterol and triglycerides. [12]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


The high content of oxalic acid in the leaves of O. corniculata can pose a potential problem of oxalate poisoning and caution should be taken when consuming this herb. [9]

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


Its use is contraindicated in gouty persons. [9]

Case Report

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of O. corniculata [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Oxalis corniculata L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23, cited 2016 Oct 13]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2394644.
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 367-369.
  3. Chung RCK. Oxalis corniculata L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 371-373.
  4. Mizokami H, Tomita-Yokotani K, Yoshitama K. Flavanoids in the leaves of Oxalis corniculata and sequestration of the flavanoids in the wing scales of the pale grass blue butterfly, Pseudozizeeria maha. J Plant Res. 2008;121(1):133-136.
  5. Dutt UC, Sen KBL. The materia medica of the Hindus. New Delhi: Mittal Publication, 1995; p. 124.
  6. Manandhar NP, Manandhar S. Plants and people of Nepal. Portland: Timber Press Inc., 2002; p. 344.
  7. Authur Whistler W. Tongan Herbal Medicine. Hawai: University of Hawaii Press, 1992; p. 74.
  8. Moerman DE. Native American medicinal plants: An ethnobotanical dictionary. Portland: Timber Press Inc., 2009; p. 333.
  9. Nadharni KM. Dr. K. M. Nadkarni’s Indian materia medica, volume 2. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan Pvt. Ltd., 2007; p. 891.
  10. Raghavendra MP, Satish S, Raveesha KA. Phytochemical analysis and antibacterial activity of Oxalis corniculata; A known medicinal plant. mySCEINCE. 2006;72-78.
  11. Manna D. Dutta PK, Achari B, Lohia A. A novel galacto-glycerolipid from Oxalis corniculata kills Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010;54(11):4825-4832.
  12. Abhilash PA, Nisha P, Prathapan A, et al. Cardioprotective effects of aqueous extract of Oxalis corniculata in experimental myocardial infarction. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2011;63(6):535-540.