Redwood Sorrel is a shade-loving, perennial groundcover with edible, clover-shaped leaves and white to pink flowers - native to the West Coast.
The leaves, stems, and flowers of this native food are all edible raw or cooked and have a tangy lemony flavor. They are a beautiful and unique addition to salads, soups, & rhubarb-type pies. Native American peoples, wild foragers, and sustainable gardeners have and continue to value this plant as food eating it often with dried fish, or as a supplement to other meals. Leaves, especially raw, contain oxalic acid (like raw spinach or broccoli) and should not be eaten in large quantities.
The ornamental leaves, flowers, and low-growing habit of Redwood Sorrel make it a perfect backyard native edible. With shade and moisture, it will form a dense groundcover of lush, green, clover-shaped foliage with dozens of small white-pink flowers on delicate stems. Redwood Sorrel stays green all year long. Plant it under existing shade trees or alongside other native groundcovers. It grows particularly well with Woodland Strawberry, Miner’s Lettuce, and our native Violets.
Environment and Culture
Redwood Sorrel’s wild home is within moist forest understories up and down the West Coast. (However, it's also quite drought tolerant!) In some places it fills entire forest floors for as far as the eye can see! Its often-dense green growth provides cover for small animals and insects and retains moisture in the forest soils. Once established in the appropriate garden environment, it is extremely low-maintenance, spreading from scaly, underground rhizomes into the nearest open space. Another great perennial vegetable, it is a great addition to any sustainable, no-till vegetable patch.
Northwest Native American tribes today still value this special plant as food, medicine, and family. Despite great cultural losses, they continue to work towards stewarding and restoring wild populations, both strengthening the integrity of the ecology and sustaining their cultural heritage and wisdom. These strong and recovering peoples and plants deserve our respect, gratitude, and reparations. (Learn more & how to help on our Charitable Giving page.)
Harvest, Care, and Preparation
Harvest of Redwood Sorrel is very simple. The tender leaves, stems, and/or flowers can all be picked by hand or with a scissors. Can be eaten fresh out of hand, mixed in salads, soups, or cooked into other dishes. We enjoy them as a fresh garnish on salads, but encourage experimenting with any recipes that calls for standard “garden sorrel” or “french sorrel”, including Sorrel Soups, Sorrel Pestos, and even Sorrel/Rhubarb Pies. Enjoy!
Native Range: CA, OR, WA, BC
USDA zones: 7-10
Ease of Care: Very Easy
Deer Resistance: High
Light Requirements: Full Shade
Soil Type: Any - prefers humus-rich soils, slightly acidic
Water Requirements: Any, prefers Moist
Bearing Age: 1 yr. from seed, several to spread
Size at Maturity: 6"-1ft
Plant Spacing: 1 foot
Bloom Time: Spring-Summer
Harvest Time: All Year
Pot Sizing Guide