Butterfly Plant 10
Oxalis Triangularis Origins
Oxalis triangularis is often referred to as “purple shamrocks.” The plant’s history can be traced back to St. Patrick, who held a similar plant and used the three leaves to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Oxalis triangularis is not Irish natives, however – instead, they hail from Brazil.
Oxalis triangularis are highly “photophilic,” which means that they open and close not just their blooms, but also their leaves in response to light. At night, neatly folded, oxalis triangularis looks like a cluster of little purple butterflies that then open wide to the morning light. Both the vivid purple color of its leaves and this constant slow-motion seem to enchant all who grow it – even “non-gardeners” fall in love with this charming beauty. To capitalize on its unusual coloring, containers in silver or chartreuse are especially effective.
Incredibly long-lived, oxalis triangularis often become “heirloom plants” passed down from generation to generation within a family. We often hear customers’ stories of the plants becoming a cherished family tradition. One customer told us she was enjoying the same bulbs as their great, great-grandmother who harvested them as a child 107 years ago! Since oxalis triangularis are super simple to plant and grow, they are frequently given as gifts. Choose one of our many pre-planted oxalis gifts, or take it easy on your wallet and make a nice gift by planting four triangularis in an empty soup can with the label removed. Once these are growing, the look is wonderful between the metallic can and deep purple foliage! Let the gift recipient know that these plants have the potential to become treasured, living family heirlooms that will last for generations with little care.
Be aware that oxalis triangularis has developed natural toxicity to protect it from foraging animals. This is a plant that bites back, so take care of pets and small animals.