Curly dock stands erect and grows 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5 m) tall. Rumex longifolius – Yard dock, door yard dock or northern dock, this species looks very similar to curly dock, but the flavor is considerably more bitter. It can be used as a wild leaf vegetable; the young leaves should be boiled in several changes of water to remove as much of the oxalic acid in the leaves as possible or can be added directly to salads in moderate amounts. How to Use Curly Dock Leaves. It will have leaves along the stalk, and lots of tiny, greenish “flowers” that really don’t look like much. This makes curly dock one of the easier plants for beginners to identify. The older the leaves get, the more bitter they become. The stalk will ripen all summer and eventually turn an attractive, rusty brown. My spots are mostly in neglected corners of local parks, away from the manicured grass and the pesticides those lawns probably contain. Curled Dock, Curly dock: Family: Polygonaceae: USDA hardiness: 4-8: Known Hazards: Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. A stout, somewhat branched, yellow taproot may extend as deep as 4 feet, with side branches up to 3 feet long. Old leaves need to be boiled in at least one change of water to help mitigate this. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. The seeds of the yellow dock, once dried thoroughly, are edible as well. It likes construction sites, fallow fields, places chewed up by vehicle tires, roadsides — in other words, a lot of places that aren’t exactly ideal for foraging, because plants growing in compromised places can sometimes contain heavy metals within them, or might have just been sprayed with pesticide. Curly dock is an herbaceous perennial with tall, erect stems. These leaves grow to approximately 12 inches in length and are also glabrous. The leaves of curly dock are hairless, long and narrow, and often have wavy or curly edges—which is where it gets its common name. 2014, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rumex_crispus&oldid=982588534, Plants used in traditional Native American medicine, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2015, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 October 2020, at 02:24. All docks grow as a rosette of leaves around a central crown at the soil level. You get the idea. Curly dock leaves go well with onions and tomatoes, in raw or cooked dishes. [3] The root-structure is a large, yellow, forking taproot. By Hank Shaw on February 16, 2015, Updated January 27, 2020 - 16 Comments. Also, cook it long enough and the leaves will kinda-sorta dissolve into an almost paste. I cook them like spinach. Also, their leaves may be slightly rounder and broader than those of mature curly dock … Curly dock’s first true leaves are spatula-shaped and may have reddish patches. Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is a long lived perennial with a basal rosette of long-stalked, smooth ovate-oblong leaves, stems 80cm-1m (32in-3¼ft) high and the distinctive seedheads on spikes that persist into winter.The tap root can be up to 90cm (3ft) in length. Curly Dock leaves are somewhat tart due to the presence of high levels of oxalic acid, and although quite palatable, this plant should only … It is used mainly for respiratory conditions, specifically those with a tickling cough that is worse when exposed to cold air. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Here in the West we have Rumex occidentalis, or Western dock plant. When you dig up this plant, you find a long golden color tap root. Classification Curly dock ( Rumex crispus ) is a member of the diverse Polygonaceae family, which encompasses 1,200 species , including trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs, such as buckwheat ( Fagopyrum esculentum ) and rhubarb ( Rheum rhabarbarum ). They all have broad, simple leaves, too. The native docks tend to like to live near streams and in open forests, and occasionally you will find curly dock there, too. This is a classic combination with the plant. As a member of the buckwhea… I’m not sure about lemony, maybe my taste buds are weird. Summary: Curled Dock is an erect, several stemmed plant up to 1.5 m tall with long, pointed, oval, crisped edged leaves, 40-240 mm long in a basal rosette and smaller leaves up the stem. Think of dock as the love child of spinach and rhubarb or sorrel (R. acetosa), and you’ll get a good idea about the flavor of this edible wild green. The plant has both basal leaves and leaves on the stem, which are alternate. Emergence: Curly dock seeds germinate in cool, moist soil from late spring through early fall as conditions permit. Curly dock seedling (right). The youngest leaves smooth margins that get progressively more rippled as the leaf matures. [citation needed] Distribution and habitat. You will see leaves emerging that are rolled up tight. Yellow dock is an ingredient in some herbal toothpastes. The flavor is often described as lemony. So how to go about foraging curly dock? The texture of the cooked leaves is slightly mucilaginous. There are also seashore docks (R. maritima) as well as desert docks, but I find the desert dock (R. hymenosepalus) to be really, really bitter. Alternate, long and narrow with round to pointed tips and wavy margins. [12] Once the plant matures it becomes too bitter to consume. Here in NorCal, edible green things grow all year long, and you can take your pick if you are even a half-decent forager. Or olive oil and Spanish smoked paprika. Still, it’s not too hard to find decent places to pick dock if you walk around a bit. (Note that burdock is a different plant entirely.) Established plants emerge from the taproot in midspring, producing a robust rosette. The flowers are numerous, tiny and green on spikes (B). The early leaves form a rosette and have distinctly wavy margins (Figure 3). As soon as you catch a whiff of spring, you’ll start to see dock. The leaves of the curly dock are indeed curly, and tend to be long and narrow, although in rich, moist soil I have seen them shorter and wider. Both the leaves and root may be laxative in some individuals, though not in all, and generally it is mild. Forms a basal rosette that bolts prior to flowering, unbranched, reaching 3 to 4 feet in height. What to do with them? They will have a slimy texture…this is good. [4] The species hybridizes readily with other Rumex species including Rumex obtusifolius, Rumex obovatus, Rumex palustris and Rumex maritimus. It should be used with care during lactation, as it may cause a laxative effect in the infant. Thankfully, not all instances have fatal outcomes. Dock leaves are an excellent source of both vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as a source of iron and potassium. They can grow up to 2 feet long and 3 1/2 inches across, but most are smaller. use the sauce on fish, light meat poultry or eggs. Dock leaves are an excellent source of both vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as a source of iron and potassium. Rumex crispus - curly dock - is similar in appearance, but with thinner and wave-like leaves. The seeds are shiny, brown and encased in the calyx of the flower that produced them. Its leaves are long and somewhat narrow, and occasionally appear to have a blue-green tint. The leaves are lance-shaped with curly edges (A). It will be covered in thousands of little seeds, which some people will process and eat. This casing enables the seeds to float on water and get caught in wool and animal fur, and this helps the seeds to spread to new locations. The leaves can be added to salads, cooked as a potherb or added to soups. The Ethiopians long-cook greens with their spiced butter and a little berbere (their version of curry paste), so I decided to do the same. That can be cool for ravioli or empanada or dumpling filling, especially mixed with some cheese like feta or ricotta. The curled dock is an optimal host plant for certain Lepidoptera species including, Agrotis ipsilon (black cutworm). A papery sheath surrounds the stem at each node. Other parts of the country have their own native docks, but the unifier is curly dock, R. crispus. [13] Curly Dock leaves are somewhat tart due to the presence of high levels of oxalic acid, and although quite palatable, this plant should only be consumed in moderation as it can irritate the urinary tract and increase the risk of developing kidney stones. The leaves can also be steamed like spinach, and served lightly seasoned, ideally mixed with other greens or vegetables. The three varieties of dock are: Curled dock, Western dock and Willow dock. The plant will help with skin conditions if taken internally or applied externally to things like itching, scrofula, and sores. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook. Lust Publications, 1974. [14] The dark-brown to black seed pods remain on the stalk until the spring when leaves start growing again. When cooking, the leaves turn from green to almost brown. Edible parts of Curled Dock: Leaves - raw or cooked. Leaves . These leaves are not as bitter. [8] Stems . The resulting flour is much like buckwheat in flavor, and while some may find it too bitter, many prefer the seeds over the tartness of the leaves. In Western herbalism, the root is often used for treating anemia, due to its high level of iron. The plant produces an inflorescence or flower stalk that grows to about 1 m high. The leaves are fairly thick and the stems can get a tinge of red, especially in cold weather. Where I live it’s actually more common than curly dock, and it tastes similar. - Homeopathic Remedies. It is classified as an "injurious weed" under the UK Weeds Act 1959. Curly Dock is distinguished by its curly leaf margins, its long leaf petioles, and the reddish spots developing as the leaves age. Curly dock may also be called yellow dock, sour dock, or narrowleaf dock, depending on where they are purchased. Curly dock is characterized by its distinctive pointed green leaves with curled edges; pale green, drooping flowers; and reddish-brown winged fruit. On the stalk flowers and seeds are produced in clusters on branched stems, with the largest cluster being found at the apex. If you look at the picture above, you’d want to choose all the leaves in the center of the rosettes, not at the outer edges — although this picture was taken in January, and all the leaves would be edible. Stems are solitary or occur in small groups from the root crown. Appearance. littoreus has a coastal distribution, and Rumex crispus ssp. Rumex crispus, the curly dock,[1] curled dock or yellow dock, is a perennial flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae, native to Europe and Western Asia.[2]. © 2020 Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, All Rights Reserved. The leaves are fairly thick and the stems can get a tinge of red, especially in cold weather. It spreads through the seeds contaminating crop seeds, and sticking to clothing. crispus occurs on waste and cultivated ground. Figure 2: Curly dock cotyledons are round at the apex and narrow at the base. Curly dock has dark green, hairless Filed Under: Featured, Foraging, How-To (DIY stuff), Spring Recipes Tagged With: Foraging, wild greens. Once the plant matures it becomes too bitter to consume. The 6-8" long elliptical or lance-shaped leaves of curly dock have entire but wavy margins (not toothed). Very young. 3 Mar. While many wild foraged grains must be winnowed, the pods of Rumex Crispus are small enough that it is more efficient to grind them with the grain. Rumex spp., commonly known as broadleaf dock, cushy-cows, butterdock, kettle dock, curly dock and smair dock, is a species of flowering plant in a buckwheat family Polygonaceae. Remember, however, that like everything in the rumex clan, that pretty emerald dulls to Army green within seconds of hitting the heat. Adult moths oviposit on these dense, low-lying leaves during the spring/summer season.[11]. N.p., n.d. The first few leaves are egg shaped to football shaped with a rounded tip and a tapered base. Rumex obtusifolius is widely distributed throughout the world. Docks are in the rumex family, and are related to rhubarb and sorrel and oxalis. Younger plants tend to have foliage with less curly margins. uliginosus occurs on tidal estuarine mud. Or sesame oil and Japanese togarashi. They can also be dried for later use. Curly dock is found virtually everywhere in the world, naturalized and in some places invasive. Curly dock leaves are lanceolate and up to 20 inches long, whereas broadleaf dock has lanceolate-ovate leaves that are up to 30 inches long. Curled dock has tall flower spikes with … New York: B. You want these leaves, and the ones that have just unrolled. In hot weather, the young leaves are still good, but fully unrolled leaves get gnarly in a hurry. [citation needed] Some studies show that certain anthroquinones can help stop or slow cancer growth, but this may or may not apply to the ones in yellow dock. The texture of the cooked leaves is slightly mucilaginous. Curly Dock, a rhubarb relative, is also known as sour or yellow dock. But the leaf shape is highly variable, both on a single plant, and from plant to plant. Rumex triangulivalvis – White dock, willow dock or narrow-leafed dock is identified by it’s long, flat, narrow leaves that vaguely resemble willow leaves in shape (only much larger). The plant may also cause intestinal discomfort to some people. Curled dock has slender leaves, usually tapering to a point and with wavy margins. But I … Stems are erect and 1 to 4 feet tall. This plant has medical uses in European herbal medicine as well. If you’ve ever eaten any of these vegetables, you know they are tangy from the oxalic acid in them; rhubarb leaves have so much of this that they are toxic. Curly dock (Rumex crispus) is a non-native forb in the buckwheat or smartweed family (Polygonaceae). Start by knowing that there are a number of varied species, some native and some invasive. Dock leaves are hairless, too, so if you see leaves that are fuzzy or bristly, it’s not dock. Dock is from the Old English docce meaning a coarse weedy herb. Curled dock is a perennial plant that grows freely in disturbed soils, including fields, vacant lots, streamsides, and forest edges. Many is he in farm country who has spent days clearing pastures of the stuff, for, as USU Extension explains, the leaves of curly dock “are poisonous to cattle and sheep; the “seeds and vegetation of curly dock are toxic to poultry and can cause dermatitis and gastric problems in cattle;” and curly dock is “an alternate host to … Curly dock rosette (left). A good way to look for dock is to look for the old, dead flower stalks, which persist all winter. [10] It is often seen in disturbed soils at the edges of roadsides, railway beds, and car parks. It is native to Europe which is now available in United States, Australia, New Zealand and others. , vacant lots, streamsides, and are also glabrous internet 's largest source of iron preferences of cutworm! Grow up to 2 feet long brown and encased in curly dock leaves United,... 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Young do you want these leaves, too with curly edges ( a ),... Once dried thoroughly, are Edible as well European herbal medicine as well as potherb! Are shiny, brown and encased in the Rumex family, and F. T. Turpin and sticking to clothing help!

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