Pale Pink Sorrel is a perennial in the woodsorrel family and is a native of South Africa. Records show that it was in Britain in the mid eighteenth century and has been introduced to many other countries as an garden ornamental where it has escaped to the wild in some areas, preferring shaded hedge banks and the edge of woodland.
The bright green leaves have three heart-shaped leaflets, which distinguishes them from clover. They also contain oxalic acid which gives them a tang similar to Common and Sheep's Sorrel, this is what led to the name though they are not related. Due to the oxalic acid content, it should not be eaten in quantity, nor if suffering from gastric irritation or kidney stones.
It has been used medicinally for reducing fevers and as a rinse for mouth ulcers.
The flowers have five petals in colours from almost white to pink and mauve, opening fully only when in full sun.
The most annoying feature of this plant is the clump of small bulbils or bulblets, which form at the base of the leaves on top of the tuberous root. These break off very easily and will grow into a new plant, so cultivating the soil spreads them around; they can also be carried away on garden tools and footwear to other areas. The plant can develop a translucent contractile root which draws the bulbils lower into the soil.