A 4 ft. perennial herb, smooth-stemmed with deep thick taproot; in open fields and southern oak woodlands. UCI Ecological Preserve, Irvine, CA. 5-14-10. © Joan Avise.




 



Curly Dock

Rumex crispus

EXOTIC, of European origin. The most abundant Rumex in our area and a  common weed throughout much of North America, with many medicinal and culinary uses.  Rumex (Dock) species are distinguished mainly by inner perianth parts that surround the triangular fruit.

The margins of the inner perianth parts vary from entire to toothed, while their central basal portions are often swollen forming a protuberance, the tubercle. The inner perianth parts are persistent and disperse with the enclosed fruit (Clarke p 150).

Polygonaceae; Subfamily Polygonoideae

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Flowers have 6 sepals in 2 rows of 3 with the outer sepals about 1/16 in. long; 6 stamens; 3 styles.  San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh, Irvine, Orange County, CA.. 5-19-07. © Joan Avise.

As fruits mature, inflorescences turn reddish brown. The central protuberances (tubercles) develop to less than 1/3 the width of the inner perianth parts (Clarke). UCI Ecological Preserve, Irvine, CA. 5-14-10. © Joan Avise.

The long, up to one foot, leaves have long stems and markedly wavy margins.   Infestations of a flea beetle (Chrysomelidae) sometimes skeletonize the leaves (Clarke). UCI Ecological Preserve, Irvine, CA. 4-4-10. © Joan Avise.

Long slender flower spikes rise well above the dense basal leaves. UCI Ecological Preserve, Irvine, CA. 4-4-10. © Joan Avise.

UCI Ecological Preserve, Irvine, CA. 4-4-10. © Joan Avise.

UCI Ecological Preserve, Irvine, CA. 4-4-10. © Joan Avise.

Old dried flower spikes with new leaf growth at the base. UCI Freshwater Marsh, Irvine, CA. 12-12-11. © Joan Avise.

The inner perianth parts are persistent and disperse with the enclosed fruits (achenes). UCI Freshwater Marsh, Irvine, CA. 12-12-11. © Joan Avise.