Forest Facts

Redwood Sorrel Sun Salutation

Redwood sorrel before a sunfleck hits.

Redwood sorrel before a sunfleck hits.

Ever wonder why redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregano) leaves appear to wilt in the sun?  The leaves fold downwards when sun flecks shine onto patches of this tiny plant that carpets the coast redwood forest floor.  This is a protective response because this shade-loving plant will get sunburned with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Sorrel leaves fold as the sun move across the forest floor.

Sorrel leaves fold as the sun move across the forest floor.

What is remarkable about this to me is that the plant isn’t actually wilting (involuntary collapse) and is instead actively moving its leaves, similarly to how a venus fly-trap plant closes its trap quickly to catch flies.

Hmmmm, so then why does redwood sorrel also fold its leaves downwards at night when there isn’t any sun at all??? A question to ponder as you hike through the redwoods next time!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s