Botanical name: Rumex
Botanical name: Rumex
Docks (Rumex) are a large and widespread group of flowering plants in the buckwheat (sometimes called knotweed) family. Many species within this genus have been used by humans for centuries. Sorrels, a subgroup of docks, have tart-tasting leaves that are cultivated for use as salad greens. The roots of several docks also contain high levels of tannins and have been used for tanning leather.
Species of Docks
Great water dock
Great water dock (Rumex hydrolapathum) are a large and widespread group of flowering plants in the buckwheat (sometimes called knotweed) family. Many species within this genus have been used by humans for centuries. Sorrels, a subgroup of great water dock, have tart-tasting leaves that are cultivated for use as salad greens. The roots of several great water dock also contain high levels of tannins and have been used for tanning leather.
Swamp dock (Rumex verticillatus) is a perennial flowering plant found in the eastern parts of North America. It grows in marshy and swampy areas and along streams and lakes in partial sun. The leaves are mildly toxic if consumed in large quantities.
Garden sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is a flowering plant related to buckwheat. It can be found in acidic soil and tends to grow outside abandoned mines where other plants can't take hold. Farmers will often consider garden sorrel a weed; it is a particular problem for blueberry crops.
Another name for canaigre dock (Rumex hymenosepalus) is wild rhubarb. That’s because it’s a member of the same family as rhubarb. You can eat the tender young leaves and stalks. It’s indigenous to deserts in western North America. The roots have a lot of tannin in them, which you can use to make fabric dyes.
Rumex crispus, commonly known as curly dock, is a perennial plant that grows in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is a very adaptable plant, flourishing in a variety of different habitats including roadsides, the edges of woodlands, meadows, and shorelines. Some moth species like to lay their eggs on curly dock leaves.
The green foliage of the herb sorrel has a tangy taste with little hints of citrus. It is often used in salads or cooked like spinach. It was once considered a vegetable, but it is now seen as a wild food plant. It is usually found on cliffs and coastal dunes.
Heartwing Sorrel (Rumex hastatulus) is a plant species related to buckwheat native to the eastern and southern United States. Heartwing Sorrel grows in river valleys, meadows, and waste areas. This species is poisonous.
The turkey rhubarb plant is incredibly tough and resilient, so much so that a single fragment of its tuber can grow another plant. It also has unusual seeds that can float on water, allowing them to travel far distances during flooding rainstorms. These two qualities make this plant a menace in Australia and New Zealand, where it has naturalized and has proven almost impossible to get rid of.
Munk's rhubarb got its common name from its regulatory effect on the digestive system, which is similar to but more mild than rhubarb. Munk's rhubarb can thus be eaten similar to spinach. However, consume with caution, as it is very high in oxalic acid and, if grown wild, may have been treated with pesticides.
Veiny dock (Rumex venosus) is indigenous to western North America. Two close relatives of it are rhubarb and buckwheat, and other names for it include winged dock and wild begonia. The larvae of the ruddy copper butterfly devour it to fuel their metamorphosis into flying creatures.
Scottish dock prefers the edges of marshes as its home. This perennial is pollinated by the wind and contains high amounts of oxalic acid, which can cause nausea when consumed. The plant has been used to make dyes and as a cleaning agent. It has been referenced as invasive within India and Japan.
Pink sorrel grows as scrub in river sand. It is part of the buckwheat family, also known as sorrels or dockweed. This small shrub flowers in early summer with insignificant blooms. Its natural habitat is thermophilic forests.
Garden sorrel is an intriguing plant with unique characteristics. It is known for attracting beneficial insects like bees, making it an excellent addition to any garden. With its vibrant blooming season and adaptable nature, garden sorrel is a versatile and captivating plant that will surely enhance any landscape.
Aegean dock (Rumex dentatus) is a knotweed commonly named after its native Aegean Sea region. This plant has spread widely and is recorded as an invasive species in countries including the United States, Belgium, and Mexico. The plant is successful due to its ability to rapidly colonize habitats such as disturbed land.
Rumex longifolius is a perennial plant that grows to a height of 61 to 119 cm. It has large, broad leaves, the edges of which are crinkled and undulating. The stems are erect, tough, and unbranched until just below the inflorescence. The stem leaves are alternate and are narrowly ovate–lanceolate and have a rounded or tapered base. The leaf stalks are approximately the same length as the leaf blade. The inflorescence consists of large clusters of racemes which contain small greenish flowers that are bisexual. The fruit is a glossy brown nut with a triangular cross section.
Willow dock (Rumex salicifolius) is a perennial herb in the knotweed family. It grows across the western United States in wetland or other moist areas and has been introduced in Europe as well. Its scientific name means “sorrel with willow-like leaves.”
Clustered dock (Rumex conglomeratus) was introduced to North America from Europe and Asia. It is usually found in damp areas, alongside streams or ponds. It contains quite high levels of oxalic acid, which gives the leaves a sour taste and can cause oxalate poisoning in cattle.
Fiddle dock, or Rumex pulcher, is an edible weed found in North America. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a somewhat acidic flavor. They should be eaten in small quantities because oxalic acid in the plant can block nutrient absorption. Fiddle dock plants are a member of the buckwheat family and have a long taproot.
People grow redvein dock (Rumex sanguineus) primarily as ornamental foliage. It’s indigenous to Eurasia and northern Africa. Although it’s edible, it should only be eaten in small amounts because it contains oxalic acid, which can cause stomach distress. Its tender young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but older leaves are bitter and tough. It tastes like chard or spinach.
Golden dock (Rumex maritimus) is a widespread annual plant that is listed as an invasive species in the state of Alaska. The story is different in New York state however, where it is classed as an endangered species. There is a history of the use of this plant by American Indians as traditional medicine.
It is an annual herbaceous plant up to 50 cm tall .. Its finely ribbed pink fin flowers are characteristic.
Patience dock (*Rumex patientia*) is a perennial from Southern Europe. It has been introduced in North America where it is occasionally viewed as a weed. It is commonly cultivated for use as a leafy vegetable. The leaves contain oxalic acid, which can become toxic if eaten too often. Conditions like arthritis, kidney stones, and rheumatism can be exacerbated by this compound.
Bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius) grows wild in shady, temperate areas around the world. Its leaves and stems are edible when young, as are the seeds. It was used in Medieval European folk medicine, and the roots can be used to make yellow dye.