Oca: Hidden seeds

Oca seed pod with expelled seeds

The oca (Oxalis tuberosa) seed pod is infamous among enthusiasts because it explodes when ripe, flinging the seeds all over the place. Without some kind of apparatus to catch the seeds, you would never find them. I use 1″ x 1″ zip seal bags (the picture shows a larger bag, which I used early on, but found to catch too much wind), which work pretty well, except that they do hold in a lot of moisture.

I suspect that under natural conditions, the seed pods dry more and their explosive seed dispersal is more effective, although that is just a guess. In my little plastic bags, the seed pods end up kind of soggy and cough up only about half their seeds.

So, if you are lucky enough to have oca seed pods, make sure you pull them apart to search for any hidden seeds. In this seed pod collected this morning, I found seven more seeds still within the pod, for a total of twelve. I would have lost more than half the yield if I had tossed it.

Oca seeds and tubers are sometimes available in our seed shop.

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