Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Oxalis montana


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Pavek, Diane S. 1992. Oxalis montana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : OXAMON SYNONYMS : Oxalis acetosella L. Oxalis acetosella f. montana Raf. Oxalis acetosella var. rhodantha (Fern.) Knuth. SCS PLANT CODE : OXMO COMMON NAMES : common woodsorrel wood shamrock white woodsorrel TAXONOMY : The currently accepted name of common woodsorrel is Oxalis montana Raf., in the woodsorrel family (Oxalidaceae). There are no recognized subspecies or varieties. Common woodsorrel is closely related to the European species Oxalis acetosella. Some earlier authors included common woodsorrel as a variety of O. acetosella [10]. However, common woodsorrel currently is recognized as a distinct species. Two forms based on flower color are infrequently used [10]: O. m. f. montana O. m. f. rhodantha Fern. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : In Canada, common woodsorrel occurs from Manitoba east to southern Labrador and south to Nova Scotia [32]. In the United States, its range extends from Minnesota across the North Central States to New England [22]. Its range continues south along the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina and Tennessee [10,22]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES19 Aspen - birch FRES23 Fir - spruce STATES : CT DE IL IN KY ME MD MA MI MN NH NJ NY NC OH PA RI TN VA WV WI MB NF NS ON BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest K102 Beech - maple forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 15 Red pine 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 19 Gray birch - red maple 21 Eastern white pine 22 White pine - hemlock 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 28 Black cherry - maple 30 Red spruce - yellow birch 31 Red spruce - sugar maple - beech 32 Red spruce 33 Red spruce - balsam fir 34 Red spruce - Fraser fir 35 Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir 37 Northern white-cedar 60 Beech - sugar maple 107 White spruce SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Common woodsorrel is a dominant understory species in red spruce (Picea rubens) and balsam or Fraser fir (Abies balsamea or A. fraseri) forests of the Appalachian Mountains, which are part of the boreal forest formation [29,34]. Common woodsorrel is an indicator for several forest habitat types or site types in the balsam and Fraser fir phases [3,5,11,15]. Common woodsorrel is dominant in the northern hardwoods forest, red or sugar maple-yellow birch-American beech (Acer rubrum or A. saccharum-Betula lutea-Fagus grandifolia) [7,24]. It is also a dominant species in the transition plant associations between the boreal forest and the northern hardwoods [19,37]. It is a minor component of the riparian communities in the northern hardwood forests [6]. Common woodsorrel is subdominant in seral communities of black cherry (Prunus serotina)-red maple [36]. In northern Wisconsin, common woodsorrel is a dominant forb in the association of eastern hemlock-false lily-of-the-valley-goldthread (Tsuga canadensis-Maianthemum canadense-Coptis groenlandica) [13,20]. In white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) communities, common woodsorrel is a minor component with a corresponding low importance value of 0.4 [28]. Frequent herbaceous codominants are false lily-of-the-valley, goldthread, starflower (Trientalis borealis), and woodferns (Dryopteris spp.) [8,29,31,37,41]. Publications that list common woodsorrel as a dominant herb are: (1) Field Guide: Habitat classification system for Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northeast Wisconsin [4] (2) Ground vegetation patterns of the spruce-fir area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park [5] (3) The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley [7] (4) Field guide to forest habitat types of northern Wisconsin [20] (5) Habitat classification system for northern Wisconsin [21] (6) Soil-vegetation relationships in northern hardwoods of Quebec [24] (7) A comparison of virgin spruce-fir forest in the northern and southern Appalachian system [29] (8) Vegetation, soil, and climate on the Green Mountains of Vermont [34] (9) Communities and tree seedling distribution in Quercus rubra- and Prunus serotina- dominated forests in southwestern Pennsylvania [36].


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : While common woodsorrel has not been investigated, other members of the woodsorrel family (Oxalis pes-capre and O. corniculata) form concentrations of soluble oxalates lethal to livestock under specific grazing conditions [18]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Common woodsorrel is a soil stabilizer; it has extensive clonal growth and the ability to grow on steep ground, poor soil, and in deep shade [5,27,38,39]. In a Canadian northern hardwood-boreal transition forest, disturbed ground was mulched to suppress red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) growth [16]. Common woodsorrel appeared during the second growing season, despite the oat (Avena sativa) mulch. Because only plants with 10 percent or greater cover were recorded, it is likely that common woodsorrel was present the first year in low amounts [16]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Common woodsorrel is a native woodland perennial with well-developed clonal growth [1]. It is a small evergreen plant (less than 4 inches [10 cm] high) that has scaley rhizomes [23]. Common woodsorrel does not have a main stem. Leaves, with three cloverlike leaflets, are basal. The fruit is a round capsule [10,32]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Reproduction usually involves episodes of seedling recruitment as a result of disturbance, such as fire and logging, followed by long periods of vegetative clonal growth [1]. Common woodsorrel forms extensive colonies in boreal spruce-fir forests; however, its colonies rarely exceed several feet in diameter in the northern hardwood forests [35]. Common woodsorrel reproduces both sexually and asexually. Asexual flowers (cleistogamous) produce greater amounts of seed compared to sexual flowers [14]. Total fruit set per plant is low because there is only one flower per stalk, with a recorded maximum of 34 flowers per plant [1]. Mature capsules dehisce seeds forcefully, flinging them outward from the plant [14]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Common woodsorrel has wide ecologic amplitude and occurs commonly throughout the northern hardwood and spruce-fir (Picea rubens-Abies balsamea) forests of the Appalachian Mountains [35]. Some authors have stated that common woodsorrel occurrence is not correlated with any particular suite of site features [27,35]. Common woodsorrel is on the glaciated uplands of the Canadian shield [24]. The shallow soils are sandy loams to loamy tills [20]. Saturated soils may be poor to moderately well-drained [6,7]. However, soils are generally poorly developed and often consist only of an organic mat on top of bedrock [27,31]. Soil pH is strongly to moderately acidic [15,34,38]. Common woodsorrel occurs on level to steep slopes and any aspect [5]. Plants occur at 500 feet (152 m) in Maine coastal forests to 5,000 feet (1,524 m) in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee [24,34,37]. The growing season throughout its range is from 110 to 140 days and is cool with ample moisture [8]. Snowpack in the subalpine zones can extend from November to May [31]. The average annual temperatures are less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 deg C) [41]. Average annual precipitation is 90 to 140 inches (2,286-3,556 mm) per year [5]. The moisture regime is perhumid to humid [31]. Rainfall is equitable in all summer months. Fog drip from evergreen needles increases precipitation amounts [34]. Moss coverage can be low to high, and very high fern coverage reduces common woodsorrel populations [5]. Associated understory species include lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), witherod (Viburnum cassinoides), hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium), and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) [5,8,15]. Overstory species also include white ash (Fraxinus americana) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) [31]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Climax Species Common woodsorrel is a climax understory species. It is a tolerant species under mature fir canopy [38,39]. Common woodsorrel is present in, although not characteristic of, early or mid- seral stages in New England's northern hardwood or spruce-fir boreal forests [35]. Disturbance occurs as severe winds, hurricanes, and fire [31]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Plant growth mainly occurs before flowers are out [14]. Sexual flowers on common woodsorrel bloom from late May to August throughout its range [10,23]. In a population, the flowering period lasts approximately 30 days with individual flowers open for about five days [14]. Fruits mature in about 12 days, requiring warm days before dehiscence [14]. Seed is shed from June to September throughout its range [14].


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Burning conditions are usually poor in the spruce-fir boreal forests in which common woodsorrel grows due to the presence of water throughout the year [17]. Droughts can make the areas more susceptible to fire. Fires may occur in the southern boreal forests every 50 to 150 years, and in the northern boreal forests, fire frequencies are every 100 to 300 years [17]. Common woodsorrel fire survival strategy is that of a perennial with underground rhizomes; surviving rhizomes sprout. However, it often grows in humus on bedrock in spruce-fir forests [27,31]. The organic layer does not give much protection from fire. No information was found about common woodsorrel seed surviving fire. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : No fire studies have been done on common woodsorrel. Fire would top-kill this plant. Growing in mainly organic or shallow soils, its rhizomes probably would not survive a fire of moderate severity. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Surviving rhizomes will sprout. Existing patches can expand to colonize open areas. Vegetative reproduction allows the population flexibility in initiating or stopping plant development. Since common woodsorrel can reproduce by asexual flowers, seed set is highly probable, despite a possible low initial population size. Dissemination by explosive dehiscence provides the ability to colonize open disturbed areas. When open ground has closed with vegetation, common woodsorrel colonies will continue to expand by rhizome growth (see SUCCESSIONAL STATUS). DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Project Summary Effects of surface fires in a mixed red and eastern white pine stand in Michigan provides information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including common woodsorrel, that was not available when this species review was written. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Oxalis montana
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