Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), commonly known as sorrel, is a species of flowering plant from the wood sorrel family (Oxalidaceae). It grows in the cold temperate zone areas of the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe, and Asia. Its leaves are heart-shaped and divided into three leaflets, giving the appearance of a shamrock. They are often colored purple or reddish brown.
It is known for its sour taste caused by Oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is harmless but can be toxic in large amounts.
The plant was used in the past for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of scurvy due to its high vitamin C content. It was also used to treat fever, inflammation and as a diuretic substance.
It is a popular ingredient in many cuisines, especially in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, being added to salads, soups, and sauces.
For its attractive leaves and delicate white or pink flowers, it is also a popular ornamental plant, often used in rockeries and forest gardens.
The sorrel is an important food source for many animals, such as deer, hares, and squirrels.