Now, let me introduce Oxalis oregana. As a species of the wood sorrel family, it goes by many names; Redwood sorrel, shamrocks, or just sorrel! Its got a definite tangy taste, like lemon, and is a great addition to salads or stir fries, or any other dish you are cooking up. Munching on a bit will give you a boost of vitamin C!
Native to moist Douglas-fir and Coast Redwood forests, Oxalis oregana has long been collected by coastal First Nation tribes from South Western B.C, down to Northern California. The Cowlitz tribe of Northern Washington state harvests this species to make a poultice for sore eyes and as a remedy for a digestive tonic. The sour taste of the plant comes from the compound oxalic acid, which is also found in spinach. Steaming or boiling the plant will reduce the amount of oxalic acid, which can disrupt nutrient absorption (please don't eat too much RAW sorrel, or raw spinach for that matter!).
So, if you are frolicking in the Redwoods this summer, or even taking a stroll in your Pacific Northwestern back yard, impress someone and point out this common ground cover. They are easy to identify as they have three heart shaped leaves with a burgundy or pink underside. You will see them during most of the year. From spring to summer, look for small white flowers stretching a couple centimeters above the green foliage. Maybe even stay and watch them a few hours to observe how they bend downwards in direct sunlight and stretch again when the shade returns! Have a "Double Rainbow!" experience! Thanks guys, and stay tuned for the delicious Rubis ursinus otherwise known as the trailing blackberry!