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Oxyria digyna - (L.)Hill.                
Common Name Mountain Sorrel, Alpine mountainsorrel
Family Polygonaceae
Synonyms Rheum digynum.
Known Hazards The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats Damp rocky places on mountains, especially by streams, avoiding acid soils[17]. Locally common on enriched soils below bird roosts[200].
Range Mountains of the northern temperate zone, including Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Oxyria digyna is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Oxyria digyna Mountain Sorrel, Alpine mountainsorrel
Oxyria digyna Mountain Sorrel, Alpine mountainsorrel
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 46, 62, 85, 257]. A pleasing acid taste[183] and an excellent potherb[1]. A very nice addition to salads[K]. The leaves can be fermented into a sauerkraut for winter use[183]. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet,
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiscorbutic;  Astringent.

The leaves are rich in vitamin C and are used to treat scurvy[212]. The roots, stems and leaves are cooked and eaten in the treatment of dysentery[272].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a moist well-drained rocky soil in a sunny position or partial shade[200]. Requires a lime free soil[200]. There is some controversy here since the plant is said to avoid acid soils in the wild[K].
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. The seed germinates within 2 weeks. It can also be sown as soon as it is ripe, when it germinates within a few days. Prick the seedlings out into individual pots as soon as they are ripe and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in the spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[62]Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Very readable.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[212]Craighead. J., Craighead. F. and Davis. R. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers
Excellent little pocket guide to the area, covering 590 species and often giving details of their uses.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
[272]Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.

Readers comment                                         
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