Edited by Ho Dinh Hai Long An - Vietnam Updated: 02/09/2015
1- Introduction to the Family Oxalidaceae - Wood sorrel family
1.1- Overview TheOxalidaceae, or wood sorrel family, are a small family of eight genera ofherbaceousplants, shrubsand smalltrees, with the great majority of the 900 species in the genusOxalis(wood sorrels). Members of this family typically have dividedleaves, the leaflets showing "sleep movements", spreading open in light and closing in darkness. The genus Averrhoa of which starfruit is a member, is often included in this family, but some botanists put it in a separate family Averrhoaceae.
2.1- Genus Averrhoa + Overview Averrhoais a genus of trees in theOxalidaceaefamily, of theOxalidalesorder, named afterAverroes- a 12th-centuryastronomerandphilosopherfromAl-Andalus. + Taxonomy - Selected species The genus comprises about a dozen species, of which two, thecarambolaand thebilimbi, are cultivated for their fruits : 1-Averrhoa acida L. 2- Averrhoa acutangula Stokes 3- Averrhoa bilimbiL.- Bilimbi 4- Averrhoa carambolaL.- Starfruit or Carambola 5- Averrhoa dolichocarpaRugayah & Sunarti 6-Averrhoafrondosa Salisb. 7- Averrhoa leucopetalaRugayah & Sunarti 8- Averrhoa microphyllaTardieu 9- Averrhoa minimaPerr. 10-Averrhoa obtusangula Stokes. 11-Averrhoa pentandra Blanco. 12- Averrhoa sinicaHance. - Two species that have edible fruits 1- Averrhoa bilimbiL.- Bilimbi 2- Averrhoa carambolaL. - Starfruit or Carambola
2.3- Genus Oxalis + Overview Oxalisis by far the largestgenusin the wood-sorrel familyOxalidaceae: of the approximately 900 knownspeciesin the Oxalidaceae, 800 belong here. The genus occurs throughout most of the world, except for thepolarareas; species diversity is particularly rich in tropicalBrazil,MexicoandSouth Africa. Many of the species are known aswood sorrels (sometimes written "woodsorrels" or "wood-sorrels") as they have an acidic taste reminiscent of the unrelatedsorrelproper (Rumex acetosa). Some species are calledyellow sorrelsorpink sorrel safter the color of their flowers instead. Other species are colloquially known asfalseshamrocks, and some calledsourgrasses. For the genus as a whole, the termoxalisesis also used. Wood sorrel (a type of oxalis) is an edible wild plant that has been consumed by humans around the world for millennia. The fleshy, juicy edible tubersof the oca(Oxalis tuberosa), have long been cultivated for food in Colombiaand elsewhere in the northern Andes mountainsofSouth America. It is grown and sold inNew Zealandas "New Zealand yam" (although not a true yam), and varieties are now available in yellow, orange, apricot, pink, as well as the traditional red-orange. The leaves of scurvy-grass sorrel (Oxalis enneaphylla) were eaten bysailorstravelling around Patagoniaas a source ofvitamin Cto avoidscurvy. In India, creeping wood sorrel (Oxalis corniculata) is eaten only seasonally, starting December-January. The leaves of common wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) may be used to make a lemony-tasting tea when dried.