Rumex obtusifolius bitter dock Polygonaceae RUOB*; Bx, br, cm, pb, sd, sf, , sv (Torrey 2017); up, vc, wv (Yost et al. 1991); Q, a, cu, f, ft, j; K, p; R, c, w;


Rumex obtusifolius.Emmet J. Judziewicz.Robert W. Freckmann

Rumex obtusifolius.Emmet J. Judziewicz.Robert W. Freckmann

Rumex obtusifolius is a perennial herb to 1.5 m tall, from a tap root, stems stout, usually unbranched below inflorescence. Stipule (ocrea) membranous sleeve-like around stem above leaf stalk (Flora of North America 1993+)..

 Leaves alternate, overwintering basal leaves emerging in fall, blade broadly oblong, tip blunt, base round-lobed (cordate), to blunt, to 35 cm long, 15 cm wide, margin irregularly wavy but not ruffled, stem leaves much smaller, not usually lobed. See Flora of North America (1993+). 

Flowers green, small, 3 narrow outer sepals, three inner bract-like petals appressed to one another as wings, triangular to egg shaped, margins with 2-4 long, spine-like teethlower part of mid vein of one petal forming a bulbous tubercle along its lower third, other petals with small or no tubercle; inflorescence branched; blooming June-July (Hough 1983). 


Rumex obtusifolius.fruit.Belles Fleurs de (Both Accessed 5/2014).

Fruit dry, 1-seeded, persistent into fall, dark brown, achene to 0.5 cm, gold-brown (Mitchell and Dean 1978); fruiting June- Sept. (Hough 1983). Seeds eaten by many birds and small mammals, leaves eaten by mammals (Martin et al. 1951).. 

Wetland status: FACU-. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. 

Origin: Europe. 

Habitat: Edges, roadsides, fields, open areas or part-shade, usually in moist soil. 

Notes: Young leaves edible (Hough 1983).