CURLY DOCK

(Rumex crispus L.)

 

COMMON NAMES:

Indian tobacco, sour dock

DESCRIPTION:

A perennial species, curly dock grows 1 ½ to 4 feet high, and reproduces by seed. The leaves are bluish-green, lance shaped leaves. The alternate leaves are often a large rosette that is produced in the fall. The leaves are 3 to 12 inches long, with noticeably wavy and curly edges. Leaves become more reddish purple with age; it generally flowers from June to October. Small flowers occur on the upper portion of the stem, and are yellowish green at first but become reddish brown. The 6 flower parts do not look like petals. The inner parts become greatly enlarged and heart-shaped. Flowering is delayed by shoot removal. A large, mature curly dock can produce up to 40,000 seeds per year. The seeds are shed continuously from late summer through the winter. Seeds are capable of surviving in undisturbed soil for 50+ years and seed numbers in soil have been estimated at 5 million per acre.

KEY FEATURES OF CURLY DOCK:

Curly dock has a large, deep taproot that is yellowish orange in color. The leaves are lance shaped and have wavy curly edges. When the plant goes to seed, it will turn the whole plant a reddish color.

HABITAT:

Curly dock grows along right-of-ways, fields, crops, rangeland and pastures.

CONTROL:

There are herbicides that commonly control curly dock. For more information on these herbicides and other control methods contact the SCWP office.

OTHER FACTS:

Curly dock is known to hybridize with other members of this genus. It can also cause hay fever due to the pollen it produces.