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Herbaceous PerennialHerbs - Culinary

Rumex acetosa

common sorrel

A hardy, clump-forming perennial herb with edible, sour-tasting, oblong leaves, arrow-shaped, 7-15cm long at the base. Small reddish flowers are produced in early summer in a narrow panicle or raceme up to 1.2m tall

Other common names
garden sorrel
green sauce
see morepatriot's blood
sharp dock
sorrel dock
sour leek
sorrel
sour dock
sour grass
Synonyms
Rumex pseudo-acetosa

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0–0.1 metre
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Red Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Polygonaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
Harmful if eaten in large amounts. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Rumex can be annuals, biennials or perennials with mostly basal, simple leaves and erect panicles or racemes of small greenish or reddish flowers followed by reddish-brown, triangular fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
N Temperate Arctic Regions

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in any well-drained soil, in full sun. The plant self-seeds and deep tap roots may be difficult to eradicate or control. Young leaves can be eaten raw or added to salads, or boiled similar to spinach to accompany meals. See sorrel cultivation for more advice

Propagation

Propagate by seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wildflower meadow
Pruning

Cut back after flowering. Cut back prior to seed setting to avoid self-seeding

Pests

May be susceptible to slugs and aphids

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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