Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sucking the juice of a weed

from w
Okay, that title was only to catch your attention. I don't smoke it, or eat it. But the sourgrass or soursob has invaded the gardens lately so I'll write about it. In tidying up the back garden to dig up and plant more vegetables, we first had to get rid of a field of yellow flowers which are the weed Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda buttercup, Sourgrass, Soursob) a flowering plant in the wood sorrel family Oxalidaceae. So when is a plant a weed, and when it is a beautiful flower? This plant is indigenous to South Africa, but is now classed as an invasive weed in many parts of the world including the United States (particularly California), Europe, Israel and Australia. It is often called by the common name sourgrass or soursob due to its pleasant sour flavour. This sourness is caused by oxalic acid, which is toxic in large quantities and may contribute to kidney stones so they say. When we were children we used to pull up the long stem and suck on the stem for the interesting taste. I told Peceli as we gardened that I used to ‘eat it’ and he wouldn’t believe me. Okay, we didn’t actually eat it. The weed propagates through its underground bulbs and this is the reason why it’s hard to eradicate, as pulling up the stems leaves the bulbs behind. Anyway I thought it would be interesting to make a drawing of it and not just dismiss it as a useless plant.

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Blogger Penny said...

the bane of all gardeners lives!

12:04 AM  

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