Oxalis hirta – Wood Sorrel
Tight clusters of leaves along its stems, crowned with rich magenta blooms with cheery yellow eyes.
This is a ground covering plant that grows to only 15cm, from pretty golden bulbs (officially rhizomes). Oxalis has a bad reputation with gardeners as some can be horribly invasive. However O. hirta is one of the good ones. For confirmation please do read this article from Jury’s Garden.
O. hirta grows on flats and slopes in the north and southwest Cape in South Africa. The flowers are tri-foliate and Oxalis as a whole are sometimes referred to as False Shamrocks, though that (Trifolium pratense) is not just in a different family (Pea family, Fabaceae) from Wood Sorrel (Oxalidacea), but is actually in a different Order.
Soil / Aspect:
Oxalis hirta flowers during autumn and winter, being prompted into growth by autumn rain. During the spring it dies down and remains dormant through the summer. This is a tough plant and can be used in places that are baked dry in summer. It requires sun to flower properly.
You can do precisely nothing with this plant and enjoy it every winter. However, the bulbs do multiply and every other year you can lift a clump and take some bulbs in the summer, for friends or another spot in your garden, with no apparent diminution of flowering from the clump that you lifted.