Fishtail Woodsorrel (Oxalis latifolia), white-flowering form.
Longtime subscribers know that this channel favours Victoria’s heavy complement of wood-sorrel species. Having previously featured the pink-flowering form of O. latifolia back in early Spring, the white-flowered variety is now blooming and quite common in Melbourne’s east and northeast, with a local abundance perhaps at odds with the low number (30) of recorded botanical collections for the species in Victoria.
As noted last time, this Mexican oxalis is a late arrival, only commonly recorded in Victoria since 1980 (it was recorded once in Bendigo in 1958, plus a possibly spurious record from 1908). Reportedly unable to form seeds here, it is spread by intentional or incidental transport of soils containing the plant’s bulbils, which can then establish in new areas. In addition to human activities, as with other exotic woodsorrels the fishtailed variety can be spread by runoff, ants, and by larger (muddy) animals like dogs and birds. A modest weed of front gardens and other disturbed places, and although a local curse it is also a magical little discovery wherever it shows up.