Ontario Weeds: Curled dock
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
Order this publication
Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Curled dock, Rumex
Other Names: patience crépue, Curly dock, Narrow-leaved dock, Sour dock, Yellow dock, patience, rumex crépu
Family: Buckwheat Or Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae)
General Description: Perennial, spreading only by seed.
Photos and Pictures
Curled dock. A. Seedling in cotyledon stage. B. Seedling in 4th ltue-leaf stage. C. Rosette. D. Base of mature plant. E. Inflorescence. F. Single, 3-winged "fruit".
Stems & Roots: Stems erect, 1
m (40 in.) or taller, from a thick, yellowish, deeply penetrating,
simple or branching taproot
Leaves: Leaf shape variable: cotyledons (first 2 seed leaves) very narrow, dull green and mealy-surfaced; first true leaves roundish in outline; rosette leaves long, 10-30cm (4-12in.) or longer, narrow, with rounded or tapered bases, very wavy-margined, curled or "crisped," sour-tasting; stem leaves alternate (1 per node), similar but smaller upwards, base of each leaf-stalk flattened, expanded and somewhat encircling the stem at the node, and with a prominent ocrea (membranous sheath) up to 5 cm (2in.) long which becomes brown and papery with age; the lower stem leaves dying as the plant matures.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers small, greenish clustered in whorls around the branches of the terminal inflorescence, becoming at maturity a thick branched mass of light brown to dark brown "fruits"; each fruit with 3 tiny sepals and 3 large, wing-like, smooth-margined, papery sepals or "valves", with 1 prominent, egg-shaped, corky bump (tubercle or "grain") on the back of each of the 3 large sepals, and enclosing a small, shiny, reddish-brown fruit ("seed") which is triangular in cross-section, pointed at both ends and about 2mm (1/12in.) long. Flowers from June to July.
Habitat: Curled dock is a common weed of moist situations such as meadows, low pastures, riversides, roadsides, depressions in cultivated fields, and occasionally on sandy uplands throughout Ontario.
Similar Species: It is distinguished from similar plants by its long, narrow leaves with curled and wavy margins, the base of the leaf blades being rounded or narrowed towards the leafstalks, and the 3 wing-like sepals (valves) of the fruit with relatively smooth margins (no teeth) and each one bearing an enlarged corky tubercle.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300