FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Rumex obtusifolius

Rumex obtusifolius L.

Acetosa oblongifolia (L.) A. Löve & D. Löve

Rumex obtusifolius L. ssp. agrestis (Fr.) Danser

Rumex obtusifolius L. ssp. sylvestris (Wallr.) Rech. f.

Rumex obtusifolius L. var. sylvestris (Wallr.) Koch

Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyPolygonaceaeKnotweed or smartweed family
GenusRumexAncient Latin for “docks or sorrels”
Speciesobtusifolius“With blunt or obtuse leaves”

About plant names...

Native to western Europe, broadleaf dock is now widespread in North America. It prefers ditches, roadsides, wetlands, meadows, riparian areas, alfalfa and pasture fields (especially with poor drainage), orchards and other disturbed moist areas.

Plants: 12-48" (30-121 cm), on stout stems that don’t branch except just below the flowerheads.

Leaves: Basal leaves are not arranged in a rosette, and are oval, oblong, or heart-shaped, usually red-veined.. Upper leaves are lanceolate. All leaves have wavy edges, but less so than with curly dock.

Flowers: On spike-like racemes, greenish, pinkish, or reddish. They appear from June to October.

Fruits: ~¹/₁₆" (2-2.7 mm), comprised of triangular “valves” (wings), each with 2-4 spiny teeth on margins. One of the three wings has a seed.

These are closely similar:

 

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 14 × 21" (34 × 52 cm)

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

7/17/2009 · Mt. Lebanon St, Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 18 × 26" (45 × 67 cm)

 
Rumex crispus
You are here
Rumex obtusifolius
Common Name

Curly Dock

Broadleaf Dock
Plant 12-55" (30-140 cm) in height, erect but with a few branches. 12-48" (30-121 cm), on stout stems that don’t branch except just below the flowerheads.
Flowers A panicle of racemes of whorls of flowers appears at the upper 6-18" (15-45 cm). (In other words, there are a whole pile of tiny, greenish, weird-looking flowers.) Each yellowish or reddish green flower is about ⅛" (3.2 mm) long. If you look closely, it consists of 3 inner sepals, 3 outer sepals, 3 styles, and an ovary. On spike-like racemes, greenish, pinkish, or reddish. They appear from June to October.
Leaves A large basal rosette about 12" (30 cm) around consists of smooth-edged, distinctively wavy (“crisped”) alternate leaves. Each leaf is up to 6" (15 cm) × 1" (2.5 cm), oblong-lanceolate in shape, and hairless. Basal leaves are not arranged in a rosette, and are oval, oblong, or heart-shaped, usually red-veined.. Upper leaves are lanceolate. All leaves have wavy edges, but less so than with curly dock.
Fruit Each flower becomes a heart-shaped, toothless fruit ¹/₁₆-⅛" (2-4 mm) that contains a single white seed that matures to dark brown. ~¹/₁₆" (2-2.7 mm), comprised of triangular “valves” (wings), each with 2-4 spiny teeth on margins. One of the three wings has a seed.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Disturbed habitats, railroad beds, fallow fields, ocean beaches, and other wetland margins. Ditches, roadsides, wetlands, meadows, riparian areas, alfalfa and pasture fields (especially with poor drainage), orchards and other disturbed moist areas.
Type Wild Wild
Occurrence Common Common

 

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Fairly high levels of oxalic acid make this plant poisonous. Young leaves are sometimes cooked with at least one change of water to reduce levels of oxalic acid (and the associated bitterness). Green Deane at EatTheWeeds.com writes “Mainer Merritt Fernald, who was the Harvard wunderkind of botany from around 1900 to 1950, said all of the 17 native Rumex species in North America were edible. He completely failed to mention most of them are so bitter it would take days of boiling to make them palatable, if ever.” He nevertheless goes on to discuss the culinary properties of the Rumex genus.

Medical: No proven uses.

Online References:

Rumex obtusifolius on the University of Massachusetts Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry Program

Rumex obtusifolius on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

Rumex obtusifolius on Wikipedia

Rumex obtusifolius on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Rumex obtusifolius on www.eattheweeds.com

Rumex obtusifolius on wric.ucdavis.edu

References:

Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 232

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

6/13/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA ID is uncertain

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 13 × 10" (32 × 26 cm) ID is uncertain

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

4/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm) ID is uncertain

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

4/14/2010 · Mt. Lebanon St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Rumex obtusifolius description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 Jun 2017.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 12 × 17" (29 × 44 cm)

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 12 × 17" (29 × 44 cm)

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 12 × 17" (29 × 44 cm)

Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Bitter Dock)

4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Range:

About this map...