There are some tiny yellow flowers growing in the cracks in the concrete path that goes round the side of the house. This is the end of the house farthest away from both the front and back doors, so it is not a path well travelled. I mowed the lawn this morning and, while I was round that side, I spotted it glowing in the sun. Wondering what it was I took its picture – thinking to ask Google what he thought. Obligingly, he found Woodsorrel for me. There are about eight hundred members of the family to choose from, so, as a temporary measure, I chose Creeping Yellow Woodsorrel for ours. Small plant? Yellow flowers? It does sort of fit, doesn’t it?
It’s where it comes from that is of the most interest. Some people come right out and say that it is a native of North America and has spread round the world. Then, there are advocates for both South America and South Africa as its homeland. Just a few though, are of the opinion that it has spread around the world as we humans have spread, hiding in amongst our grain and animal food stocks. To spring out and surprise us, whenever we arrive somewhere that turns out to be our destination.
It is riddled with the same toxins that abound in rhubarb and spinach, so it is, as you might guess, very tasty. After tasting a pinch of leaves and flowers, we can confirm that it has a delightfully tart, lemony flavour. Mrs Grieve (1858 – 1941) says that if you take twenty pounds (9 Kg)of leaves (this would probably need about an acre of the plant) this will give you about six pounds (2.5 Kg) of juice from which you can extract about two ounces (64 gm)of lemon flavouring.
One thing all authorities agree on – it is no good for people with gout!