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In my gardens (in the Pacific Northwest) I get this reddish clover-like weed that really starts to assert itself in the May-June timeframe (but does pop up in April, and sticks around through the summer). It has yellow flowers, and the leaves seem to get more red as they are exposed to more sunlight. The roots are surprisingly deep and strong, and it’s typically a single root with lots of spreading on the surface.

The leaves look very clover-like, and the roots remind me of the white clover in my lawn.

Is this actually a clover (and what kind if so)? If so, are there any benefits to keeping it amongst my flowers or veggies (like nitrogen fixation or suppressing other more harmful weeds)?

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This is not really clover, but Oxalis corniculata. I think in English it is called creeping woodsorrel or procumbent yellow sorrel. I am not native English speaking so I know only the Dutch name for it (Gehoornde klaverzuring).

It is from a different family than Clover. Clover is Fabaceae, the same (nitrogen fixating) family as beans. This plant is not, it is a member of the Oxalidaceae family.

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  • There are no benefits to keeping this - I dig it out of my lawn or garden whenever I see it because it spreads quickly. – Jurp May 19 at 23:04
  • Agree - dig it out wherever you find it, but make sure you get it all out, roots too - this spreads everywhere if you leave it. – Bamboo May 19 at 23:39
  • Agreed. It does spread, and FAST. I was looking for an excuse to not have to pull them all the time, hence hoping they might be helpful like clover... but alas. – SethMMorton May 20 at 0:06
  • I have oxalis and I like the look of it, I leave and it has never bothered any other plant. I pull out the ones that seem too tall to me, but I must say I enjoy the tiny yellowish flowers they make. – Splambo May 20 at 1:46

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