Scientific Name: Rumex acetosella

Common Name: common sheep sorrel

Other Common Names: field sorrell, sheep sorrell, red sorrell, dock

Synonyms: Acetosella acetosella, Acetosella tenuifolia, Acetosella vulgaris, Rumex angiocarpus, Rumex tenuifoliu

Habit: 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: 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.

Identifying Characteristics: 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.

Seed Fruit: The seeds develop in a triangular achene that varies from red to maroon in color. Rough flower parts usually surround the achenes.

Where Found: This plant prefers acidic soils, but can adapt to other conditions. It is common along roadsides, turf, and areas of poor drainage.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Polygonaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; round

  • Ochrea: Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: green; red

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs

  • Flower symmetry: not symmetrical

  • Flower diameter: pencil

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: longer than leaf