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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Rumex obtusifolius - bitter dock

Synonyms: Actosa oblongifolia
Other Common Names: curly dock
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Polygonaceae

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Patrick Alexander @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Max Licher @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Seed pods
Patrick Alexander @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Introduced   Life Cycle: Perennial
General Desc: Stout plant with stems that are erect and branched. Entire plant can turn reddish at maturity.
Identification notes: Stems 2 to 4 feet; leaf blades 8 to 16 inches, widely ovate to oblong, base generally heart-shaped; flower branches spreading at 30 to 45 degrees; inner perianth lobe of the flower triangular to narrowly ovate-triangular.
Height: To 4 feet


Habitat Description: Sandy, riparian and disturbed areas.
Plant Communities: Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 1900 - 5300 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Greenish-yellow     Shape: Regular in elongated clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Jun - Sep
Description: Outer whorled segments of the flower are small and spreading. Flowers become reddish as they mature.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Round or oval     Leaf Margin: Lobed     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: No     Spines: N
Leaf Description: The lower leaves are large, elongated and heart shaped. The upper leaves are smaller, slightly lobed and oblong. Stems are tough, reddish and slightly ridged.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Brown   
Fruit Type: Achene
Seed Notes: Individual seeds are enclosed in a papery, winged structure that facilitates wind dispersal.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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