Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

Sheep sorrel (Sour Weed)Sheep Sorrel, also known as red sorrel, sour weed, and field sorrel, is a perennial weed that grows on an upright stem that is slender and reddish in color.  These plants are seldom more than 30 centimeters (12 inches) tall. They have alternate, arrow shaped leaves about 1 inch in length and smooth with a pair of horizontal lobes at the base (they sparkle when held up to the Sun).  The Sheep Sorrel has very small flowers, yellowish-green in males and reddish flowers in females.  The fruits are red with one seed.

Where to Find: Look for these plants in old fields and other disturbed areas in North America and Europe.  It is common in fields, grasslands, and woodlands.  It favors moist soil so it thrives near marches and floodplains.

Edible Parts: The plants are edible raw or cooked.  The leaves have a lemony, tangy flavor.  All parts of the plant have been used medicinally.

Note: These plants contain oxalic acid which can be harmful if too many plants are eaten raw. Cooking seems to destroy the chemical.

Sheep sorrel in the wild

Cluster of Sheep sorrel plants

Sheep sorrel fruit

Close up of Sheep sorrel flowers

Close up of Sheep sorrel leaf

Close up of Sheep sorrel branch

Color drawing of Sheep sorrel

Color drawing of Sheep sorrel illustrating the plant components