Luck of the Irish: Shamrock’s edgier cousin is the coolest plant in my collection

Meet the Oxalis triangularis. Is it possible that this plant is cooler than even me? (Hint: yes).

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The Oxalis triangularis is commonly called the “false shamrock.” Although, I’m not sure how commonly, because every nursery I’ve been to just marks them as “oxalis.”

What makes an oxalis so cool?

Well, for starters, its color. Oxalises (…oxali?) are available in traditional, boring green, or you can find them in this dark, rich, blackish, burgundy hue. They remind me of moths. Or maybe bat wings.

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This oxalis seems to be doing well next to my fireplace. I haven’t turned the fire on, yet, but something tells me I shouldn’t.

Something about the spindly, flesh colored stems propping up those fluttery black leaves warms my creepy, dead heart.

To make things even more macabre, this plant moves. Every night, I watch as my oxalis folds in its little triangular leaves like a bat settling in to roost for the night. Ain’t nothing getting me out of bed before 9 a.m., so I’m not sure when exactly it reopens, but I’m assuming around sunrise (gross, too early for me).

So, why does the oxalis do this? Is it to ward off predators (my cats) during the day so they don’t consume its toxic leaves? I wish. Perhaps the oxalis is reaching to escape its inevitable death when I forget about its very finicky watering schedule? It wishes.

The answer’s a little more simple than that. The oxalis doesn’t want to waste energy propping itself up during the night, when there’s no energy from the sun to absorb. So, it rests. How cute.

Here’s a time lapse of the phenomenon, found on fellow plant blogger Jonathan Lefran├žois’ YouTube channel. Don’t sue me, Jonathan.

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