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is a species of flowering plant in the knotweed family known by the common names veiny dock
, winged dock
, and wild-begonia
(it is not related to genus Begonia). While not of any particular agricultural use, its cousins Rhubarb and Buckweat are. It is native to central and western North America, from southern parts of the Canadian prairies, through to Mexico.
It can be found in many types of habitat, including sagebrush, dunes, and other sandy areas. It is commonly found in heavily grazed pastures as livestock tend to avoid it, allowing veiny dock to spread uninhibited.
It is a perennial herb producing decumbent, spreading, or upright stem 10 to 40 centimeters tall, usually with a few branches. It grows from a creeping rhizome. The light green leaves are lance-shaped to oval with smooth or wrinkled edges, growing 5-10 centimeters long and 1-6 centimeters wide. The inflorescence grows as either an axillary or terminal panicle and is densely flowered. The flowers themselves are not showy, being green and inconspicuous. They have 6 sepals, 6 stamen, and 1 pistil. The bright, pink colour of the flowers comes from the inner sepals of each flower when the fruit matures. The sepals enlarge to about 1.5 centimeters across, turning quite veiny, and surround the achene. Flowering period is throughout the summer.
Docks and Sorrels (Rumex)
, genus Rumex
L., are a genus of about 200 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbs in the buckwheat family Polygonaceae.
Members of this family are very common perennial herbs growing mainly in the northern hemisphere, but various species have been introduced almost everywhere.
Some are nuisance weeds (and are sometimes called dockweed or dock weed), but some are grown for their edible leaves.
species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species.
They are erect plants, usually with long tap roots. The fleshy to leathery leaves form a basal rosette at the root. The basal leaves may be different from those near the inflorescence. They may or may not have stipules. There are minor leaf veins. The leaf blade margins are entire or crenate.
The usually inconspicuous flowers are carried above the leaves in clusters. The fertile flowers are mostly hermaphrodite, or they may be functionally male or female. The flowers and seeds grow on long clusters at the top of a stalk emerging from the basal rosette; in many species the flowers are green, but in some (such as sheep's sorrel, Rumex acetosella
) the flowers and their stems may be brick-red. Each seed is a 3-sided achene, often with a round tubercle on one or all three sides.
These plants have many uses. Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius
) used to be called butter dock because its large leaves were used to wrap and conserve butter.
These plants are edible.
has been cultivated in the Southwestern US as a source of tannin (roots contain up to 25 percent tannin), for use in leather tanning, while leaves and stems are used for a mordant-free mustard-colored dye.
The leaves of most species contain oxalic acid and tannin, and many have astringent and slightly purgative qualities. Some species with particularly high levels of oxalic acid are called sorrels (including sheep's sorrel, Rumex acetosella
, common sorrel, Rumex acetosa
and French sorrel, Rumex scutatus
), and some of these are grown as pot herbs or garden herbs for their acidic taste.
In Western Europe, dock leaves are a traditional remedy for the sting of nettles, and suitable larger docks (such as broad-leaved dock Rumex obtusifolius
or curled dock Rumex crispus
) often grow conveniently in similar habitats to the common nettle (Urtica dioica