Oxalis glabra Th. Diss. (1781) 19, No. 17, t. 2. Salter #163
O. minor E. & Z.
O. glabra Th. vars. major, minor and albiflora Sond.
O. stenocarpa Schltr.
O. obscura R. Knuth.
Caulescent, rather slender, 5-20cm high, minutely pubescent or more rarely glabrous.
Bulb: small, ovoid, acute or rarely with a slender apical beak, usually 5-9mm long with smooth dark brown tunics.
Rhizome: short, producing terminal bulbils on long lateral underground stolons or runners.
Stem: slender, rigid, sometimes branching, 1-15cm long.
Leaves: few or many, cauline or terminally congested : petioles shorter than or a little longer than the leaflets : leaflets linear, oblong or cuneate, emarginate, often conduplicate, usually 0.5-1.5cm long, glabrous above, with 2 minute apical calli.
Peduncles: 1-flowered, terminal or axillary, 2-10cm long with 2 callus tipped alternate bracts near to or imbricating the calyx.
Sepals: lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, sometimes acuminate, sharply acute, 5-9mm long, glabrous, rarely ciliate or glandular ciliate, often with narrow purple margins, ecallose or with 2 minute and inconspicuous apical calli.
Corolla: 1.5-3cm long, glabrous, reddish-purple, rose, orange-rose or white, with a rather narrow funnel-shaped yellow tube : laminae of the petals obovate, about as long as the narrow claw.
Filaments: very variable in length, the longer sparsely glandular-pilose, with rather long narrow acute teeth.
Ovary: narrow, 1.5-2.5mm long, pilose on the upper half or near the apex, the chambers 3-5 ovuled : styles pubescent below, glandular-pilose above.
Capsule: not exserted. Seeds without endosperm.
Flowers: April - November.
Form B: from the pass between MacGregor and Greytown.
Leaflets: dotted with numerous orange calli.
Very common and often prolific in the Cape Peninsula and surrounding areas, spreading by means of underground stolons and forming large carpets. The species is characterised by its long, sharply acute sepals which sometimes bear two minute apical calli. There are numerous micro-varieties and it takes many epharmonic forms. The shade forms produce long stems with cauline leaves and peduncles, particularly in the mountain regions, but such forms do not remain constant in cultivation. Double flowers sometimes, though rarely, occur.
I am unable to distinguish between Sonder's varieties major and minor, while var. albiflora, which often grows in association with the red form, evidently hybridises with it, producing all shades of pinkish flowers, and also does not deserve varietal rank. Var. pusilla (Jacq.) Sond. has here been re-instated as a separate species and var. acuminata Sond, is O. leptocalyx Sond.