This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Oxalis Versicolor. Striped-Flowered Wood-Sorrel.
Cal. 5-phyllus. Petala unguibus connexa. Caps. angulis dehiscens, 5-gona.
OXALIS versicolor caule erecto hirto, pedunculis unifloris, foliis ternatis: foliolis linearibus callosis. Linn. Syst. Veg. ed. 14. Murr. p. 114. p. 434. Ait. Hort. Kew. v. 2. p. 114.
OXYS Africana foliis tenuissimis, flore amplo versicolore. Pluk. Amalth. 169. t. 434. f. 5.
OXYS Africana foliis tenuissimis in summitate caulis. Raii Suppl. 598.
The Oxalis-versicolor is considered as one of the most beautiful of the many species cultivated in gardens; and, though well known to, and described by several of the older Botanists, has graced our collections but a few years, being introduced to the Royal Garden at Kew, from the Cape (where, as well as in Ethiopia, it grows spontaneously) by Mr. Masson, in the Year 1774.
Many of this genus flower early in the spring, the season in which this species also puts forth its blossoms, but by dexterous management it may be made to flower during most of the year; and this is effected by placing the pea-like tubera or knobs which the root sends forth, and by which the plant is propagated, in pots filled with loam and bog-earth at stated distant periods.
Like most of the Cape plants, it is well adapted to the greenhouse, and succeeds best when placed on a front shelf of the house, where it can have plenty of light and air; some keep it in the stove, but there the plant is drawn up, and the flowers lose a part of their brilliancy: in no situation do they ever expand but when the sun shines on them; this is the less to be regretted, as they are most beautiful when closed.