Oxalis violacea
Violet wood sorrel
Image of Oxalis violacea

Photo by Kenneth J. Sytsma 

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Key Characteristics

Small forb; leaves all basal, three-parted and shamrock-like on long slender petioles; flowers purple, borne in clusters.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Oxalis violacea

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Collected only twice in the state: once in Monroe County where it was found in damp sandy soil, and once in Berrien County. No habitat data are known for Michigan.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

No data are available for Michigan collections. In the Chicago region, this species occurs in open woodlands and prairies, and is associated in the latter habitats with lead plant, azure aster, heath aster, smooth aster, shooting star, rattlesnake master, downy gentian, alum root, yellow star-grass, hoary puccoon, prairie dropseed, and needle grass.


A status survey is the principal need for this species. If found, it would likely benefit from activities like prescribed burning that maintain an open canopy and inhibit succession to woody plants.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Sep 22, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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