VIOLET WOOD-SORREL Oxalis violacea

The book of Habakkuk is one of the shorter books in the Old Testament, having only three chapters. In the middle of the book is a promise many of us memorized in VBS years ago. It reads, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

We are surrounded with wonders in nature that have been given to us by God. This is one aspect of the “glory of the Lord.” The Almighty floods our environment with beauty, but only a few recognize that this beauty is a gift from a loving God. The prophet forecasts that the whole earth will one day recognize the magnitude of God’s mercy and grace, His love for all mankind.

What a discovery that will be! I imagine that such will not occur instantly, like one would flip a switch to turn on the lights in a stadium. I suspect it will be incremental, that is, step by step. That’s also how I have came to learn about this wildflower.


Oxalis violacea

Some fellow church members and I were cleaning the side yard of a disabled widow when we discovered the violet wood-sorrel. When I first spied the lavender blooms I knelt amid the poison ivy and briers to take photos and scratch around for key identifiers.

Several years before this discovery, I had featured the yellow wood-sorrel, which is quite common, but when I saw in my reference books that there was a violet species I imagined it did not bloom in our area. Thus, the discovery was a delightful one.

The plant is a perennial and has no stem. The flowers and leaves sprout from a bulb. Its habitat is well-shaded woods and a moist rocky, but not wet, soil. Pine woods are a more likely locale to find a patch of these wood-sorrels than hardwood forests.

The trumpet-shaped flower has five petals, as illustrated. They measure about 1 inch diameter and rise from the ground 4 to 8 inches on a scape (a stem-like leafless structure).

Apart from the simple beauty of the flower, I was most fascinated by the shape of the leaves. Note how perfectly the leaves emulate the curves of a Valentine heart like the shapes we art teachers perpetuate every February. The leaves come in clusters of three, as pictured.

May this season hold many new wonders that manifest the glory of the Lord. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

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Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit The Sketching Pad in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697.

Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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