common sheep sorrel
Scientific NameRumex acetosella
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
This perennial flowers from May through September. This plant has a woody stem and can grow from 1/2 to 2 feet in height.
Leaves generally develop on the basal rosette, with a few growing up on the stem. The lower leaves are egg-shaped, 1-3 inches in length. Most leaves are hairless, and grow on petioles. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are covered with waxy granules.
Because of the plant's tendency to accumulate soluble oxalates, it can cause fatalities in livestock.
Flower Seed Head
Flowers develop in terminal clusters, and male and female flowers develop on separate plants. Female flowers are red to maroon in color, while male flowers are yellowish green.
The seeds develop in a triangular achene that varies from red to maroon in color. Rough flower parts usually surround the achenes.
This plant prefers acidic soils, but can adapt to other conditions. It is common along roadsides, turf, and areas of poor drainage.
upright and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
longer than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval