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Rumex crispus - L.

Common Name Curled Dock, Curly dock
Family Polygonaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238]. Avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding.
Habitats Growing almost anywhere[5], it is found especially in grassy places, waste ground, roadsides and near sand dunes and is a serious weed of agriculture[17, 244].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Rumex crispus Curled Dock, Curly dock


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rumex_crispus_Sturm52.jpg
Rumex crispus Curled Dock, Curly dock
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Rumex crispus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Lapathum crispum Garsault [Invalid]. Lapathum crispum (L.) Scop. Rumex elongatus Guss.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses: Coffee

Leaves - raw or cooked[5, 85, 159]. They can also be dried for later use[12]. The leaves can be added to salads, cooked as a potherb or added to soups[183]. Only the very young leaves should be used, preferably before the stems have developed, and even these are likely to be bitter[12, 95, 257]. If used in early spring and in the autumn they can often be fairly pleasant tasting[85, 159, K]. The leaves are very rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron and the vitamins A and C[183, 244]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Stems - raw or cooked[257]. They are best peeled and the inner portion eaten[257]. Seed - raw or cooked[172, 257]. It can be used as a piñole or can be ground into a powder and used as a flour for making pancakes etc[85, 102, 183, 257]. The seed is very fiddly to harvest and prepare[62]. The roasted seed has been used as a coffee substitute[207].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 21 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 92.6%
  • Protein: 1.5g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 4.1g; Fibre: 0.9g; Ash: 1.5g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 74mg; Phosphorus: 56mg; Iron: 5.6mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 1.38mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.06mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.08mg; Niacin: 0.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 30mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figure for vitamin A is in milligrammes.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative  Antiscorbutic  Astringent  Cancer  Cholagogue  Depurative  Homeopathy  Laxative  
Poultice  Salve  Tonic

Curled dock has a long history of domestic herbal use. It is a gentle and safe laxative, less powerful than rhubarb in its action so it is particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation[254]. The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems[254]. All parts of the plant can be used, though the root is most active medicinally. The root is alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, laxative and mildly tonic[4, 21, 46, 94, 165]. It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative[212]. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present[222]. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases[4, 238, 257]. Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems[257]. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic[4]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[4]. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis[222, 238]. The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[4, 218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant[232]. It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough[232].

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Other Uses

Compost  Dye

Yellow, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots. They do not need a mordant[168]. An alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[32]. (is it the flowers?) This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Dynamic accumulator

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. The plant does not need any help in growing, it is doing very nicely in Britain where it is a serious weed of agriculture. A very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly[30].

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Propagation

Seed - this plant does not require any help in its propagation.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Rumex abyssinicusSpinach RhubarbPerennial3.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Rumex acetosaSorrel, Garden sorrelPerennial0.6 3-7  LMHSNM533
Rumex acetosellaSheeps Sorrel, Common sheep sorrelPerennial0.3 4-8 FLMHSNM431
Rumex alpinusAlpine Dock, Munk's rhubarbPerennial1.2 4-8 MLMHSNM42 
Rumex angiocarpusCommon sheep sorrelPerennial0.3 0-0  LMHSNM10 
Rumex aquaticusRed Dock, Western dockPerennial1.8 0-0  LMHSNWeWa13 
Rumex arcticusArctic DockPerennial0.0 -  LMHSNWe21 
Rumex arifoliusMaiden SorrelPerennial1.2 -  LMHSNM10 
Rumex berlandieriamamastlaPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNM10 
Rumex browniiSwamp DockPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNM20 
Rumex bucephalophorusred dockAnnual/Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNDM10 
Rumex conglomeratusSharp Dock, Clustered dockPerennial1.0 0-0  LMHSNM12 
Rumex daiwoosour dockPerennial1.0 -  LMHSNMWe12 
Rumex dentatustoothed dockAnnual/Biennial0.6 -  LMHSNM11 
Rumex gmelinii Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNMWe10 
Rumex graminifoliusGrassleaf sorrelPerennial0.1 0-0  LMHSNM10 
Rumex hastatus Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNDM22 
Rumex hydrolapathumGreat Water DockPerennial1.8 5-9  LMHSNMWeWa11 
Rumex hymenosepalusCanaigre, Canaigre dockPerennial1.0 0-0  LMHSNM22 
Rumex japonicus Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNM20 
Rumex longifoliusdooryard dockPerennial1.2 -  LMHSNM11 
Rumex maritimusGolden DockAnnual0.5 -  LMHSNMWe12 
Rumex mexicanusMexican DockPerennial1.0 -  LMHSNM12 
Rumex nepalensis Perennial1.2 -  LMHSNM12 
Rumex obtusifoliusRound-Leaved Dock, Bitter dockPerennial1.0 4-8  LMHSNM120
Rumex occidentalisWestern DockPerennial1.8 -  LMHSNM11 
Rumex patientiaHerb PatiencePerennial1.5 5-10  LMHSNM310
Rumex paucifoliusFewleaved Dock, Alpine sheep sorrelPerennial0.0 0-0  LMHSNMWe10 
Rumex pulcherFiddle DockPerennial0.5 -  LMHSNDM10 
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Expert comment

Rumex crispus

Administrator .

Mar 19 2011 12:00AM

I mistakenly used this plants root in a recipe thinking it was a relative to Burdock root, and found myself nauseous and eventually throwing up. Do your research foragers, don't be like me!

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

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