Bitter dock Rumex obtusifolius, photographed by Emmet Judziewicz.

Belongs within: Polygonaceae.

Rumex, the docks, is a genus of about 200 species of herbaceous plants found worldwide, with the greatest number of species in north temperate regions. A number of species have become widely spread outside their native ranges as pasture weeds; the curled dock Rumex crispus is toxic to livestock, causing dermatitis and gastric illness (Henty 1978).

Characters (from Henty 1978): Annual or perennial herbs, often acid. Leaves spirally arranged, or lower leaves in basal rosette; sheaths short, ocreas well developed. Inflorescence racemose or paniculate; flowers bisexual, monoecious or dioecious, stipitate, articulate on arched pedicels, in bracteate fascicles, which may be many-flowered forming partial whorls. Tepals in two whorls of three; outer whorl small, not much accrescent after anthesis; inner whorl finally much enlarged, enclosing fruit; stamens 6; ovary trigonous; styles 3, short, with large dissected stigmas. Fruit sharply trigonous.

    |--R. acetosa PT01
    |--R. acetosella C55a
    |--R. alpinus C55b
    |--R. brownii Campd. 1819 [incl. R. fimbriotus Brown 1810 (preoc.)] H78
    |--R. bucephalophorus PT98
    |    |--R. b. ssp. bucephalophorus PT98
    |    `--R. b. ssp. gallicus PT98
    |--R. conglomeratus C55b
    |--R. crispus Linnaeus 1753 H78
    |--R. decumbens D03
    |--R. dentatus VB02
    |--R. flexuosus A27
    |--R. hydrolapathum LDB98
    |--R. lunaria ES06
    |--R. maritimus LDB98
    |--R. neglectus A27
    |--R. nepalensis O88
    |--R. obtusifolius C55b
    |--R. palustris LDB98
    |--R. patientia O88
    |    |--R. p. ssp. patientia O88
    |    `--R. p. ssp. pamiricus O88
    |--R. pulcher PT98
    |--R. scutatus C55b
    `--R. tuberosus PT98
         |--R. t. ssp. tuberosus PT98
         `--R. t. ssp. creticus PT98

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A27] Andersen, J. C. 1927. Popular names of New Zealand plants. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 905-977.

[C55a] Candolle, A. de. 1855a. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 1. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[C55b] Candolle, A. de. 1855b. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 – Botany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 1-34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[ES06] Erber, D., & M. Schöller. 2006. Revision of the Cryptocephalus-species of the Canary Islands and Madeira (Insecta, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Cryptocephalinae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 86 (1): 85-107.

[H78] Henty, E. E. 1978. Polygonaceae. In Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea vol. 1 (J. S. Womersley, ed.) pp. 222-248. Melbourne University Press: Carlton South (Australia).

[LDB98] Lenssen, J. P. M., G. E. ten Dolle & C. W. P. M. Blom. 1998. The effect of flooding on the recruitment of reed marsh and tall forb plant species. Plant Ecology 139: 13-23.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: An introductory note. In The Himalayan Plants vol. 1 (H. Ohba & S. B. Malla, eds) The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19-46.

[PT98] Panitsa, M., & D. Tzanoudakis. 1998. Contribution to the study of the Greek flora: Flora and vegetation of the E Aegean islands Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi. Willdenowia 28: 95-116.

[PT01] Pemberton, L. M. S., S.-L. Tsai, P. H. Lovell & P. J. Harris. 2001. Epidermal patterning in seedling roots of eudicotyledons. Annals of Botany 87: 649-654.

[VB02] Vijay, S. K., & T. N. Bhardwaja. 2002. Vegetation and phenodynamics of wetlands of central Rajasthan. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99 (3): 573-581.

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