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Rumex obtusifolius - L.

Common Name Round-Leaved Dock, Bitter 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].
Habitats Waste ground, hedgerows and field margins[17]. A common weed of cultivated land on acid or calcareous soils[12].
Range Western Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Germany and Hungary.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Rumex obtusifolius Round-Leaved Dock, Bitter dock


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Rumex obtusifolius Round-Leaved Dock, Bitter dock
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Rumex obtusifolius is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. 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 and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Acetosa oblongifolia (L.) A. Löve & D. Löve. Rumex obtusifolius L. ssp. sylvestris

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Meadow; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses:

Young leaves - cooked[8, 22, 46, 61]. A bitter taste, especially if the older leaves are used[105, 183]. The leaves are usually cooked in at least one change of water in order to reduce the bitterness[183]. Leaves can also be dried for later use[12]. The leaves have a much milder flavour when they are first produced in early spring[K]. Young stems - cooked[257]. Seed - raw or cooked[102, 172]. The seed can also be ground into a powder and used to make a gruel or added to cereal flours when making bread etc[102]. It is rather small and fiddly to harvest.

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.

Astringent;  Blood purifier;  Contraceptive;  Salve.

The leaves are often applied externally as a rustic remedy in the treatment of blisters, burns and scalds[4, 14]. The root contains tannin and is astringent and blood purifier[257]. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of jaundice, whooping cough, boils and bleeding[4, 257]. An infusion of the root has been used as a wash, especially for children, to treat skin eruptions[257]. One report says that the root has been used as a contraceptive to stop menstruation[257]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[4].

Other Uses

Dye.

Yellow, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of this plant[14, 168]. They do not need a mordant[168].

Cultivation details

Requires a good soil[4]. Plants are occasionally cultivated for their edible leaves[61]. A very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly[30]. This species is an alternative host of the turnip fly[4].

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ. Division in spring.

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Rumex abyssinicusSpinach Rhubarb10
Rumex acetosaSorrel, Garden sorrel53
Rumex acetosellaSheeps Sorrel, Common sheep sorrel43
Rumex alpinusAlpine Dock, Munk's rhubarb42
Rumex angiocarpusCommon sheep sorrel10
Rumex aquaticusRed Dock, Western dock13
Rumex arcticusArctic Dock21
Rumex arifoliusMaiden Sorrel10
Rumex berlandieriamamastla10
Rumex browniiSwamp Dock20
Rumex bucephalophorusred dock10
Rumex conglomeratusSharp Dock, Clustered dock12
Rumex crispusCurled Dock, Curly dock23
Rumex daiwoosour dock12
Rumex dentatustoothed dock11
Rumex gmelinii 10
Rumex graminifoliusGrassleaf sorrel10
Rumex hastatus 22
Rumex hydrolapathumGreat Water Dock11
Rumex hymenosepalusCanaigre, Canaigre dock22
Rumex japonicus 20
Rumex longifoliusdooryard dock11
Rumex maritimusGolden Dock12
Rumex mexicanusMexican Dock12
Rumex nepalensis 12
Rumex occidentalisWestern Dock11
Rumex patientiaHerb Patience31
Rumex paucifoliusFewleaved Dock, Alpine sheep sorrel10
Rumex pulcherFiddle Dock10
12

 

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Botanical References

17

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