Wild dock and wild sorrel (Rumex crispus and Rumex acetosella)

Flowering Wild DockWild dock (also known as Curly Dock, Yellow Dock, Sour Dock, and Narrow Dock) is a stout plant with most of its leaves at the base of its long stem that is commonly 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) long. Its leaves have distinctively waved or curled edges.  The plants usually develop from a strong, fleshy, yellowish, forking, carrot-like taproot. Its flowers and seeds are usually very small, growing in yellowish green to green to purplish plume-like clusters at the top of the plant. The seeds are shiny brown and encased in the flower.  Wild sorrel is similar to wild dock but smaller. Many of the basal leaves are arrow-shaped. They are smaller than those of dock and contain sour juice.

Where to Find: Wild Dock plant without flowering stemThese plants can be found in almost all climatic zones of the world. They can grow in areas of high or low rainfall. Many kinds are found as weeds in fields, along roadsides, and in waste places.  They prefer rich, moist, clay soils.

Edible Parts: Because of the tender nature of their foliage, sorrel and dock are useful plants, especially in desert areas. You can eat their succulent leaves fresh (in moderate amounts to avoid the risk of developing kidney stones) or slightly cooked. To take away the oxalic acid and strong taste, change the water once or twice during cooking—a useful hint in preparing many kinds of wild greens.  Mature plants are very bitter.  Dock leaves are great sources of vitamin A, protein, iron, and potassium.

Wild Dock flowers

Wild Dock plants in the wild

Newly flowered Wild Dock plants

Wild Dock leaves

Purplish Wild Dock flowers

Green Wild Dock flowers

Color drawing of Wild Dock illustrating the plant, seeds, and flowers