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Rumex acetosella

Common Name(s):
Field sorrel, Red sorrel, Sheep sorrel, Sour weed
Categories:
Edible Plants, Perennials
Comment:

Rumex acetosella is a perennial herb that has 1 inch arrow shaped leaves with smooth margins and two lobes at the base.  The stems are slender and upright with reddish ridges.  The stems branch at the top and the plant reaches a height of 18 inches.

It blooms March to November and produces either red (female) flowers or yellowish-green (male) flowers that develop on long stems.  The flowers turn into red achene fruits. 

It prefers acid and sandy soil but also thrives on disturbed or compacted soils.  It is considered a difficult to manage weed because of its creeping rhizome roots. American Cooper or Small Cooper butterfly depend on it for food.

Season:
winter, spring, summer, fall
Height:
18 inches
Flower Color:
red (female), yellowish green (male)
Exposure:
full sun
Soil:
acidic, disturbed
Origin:
Eurasia, British Isles
Edibility:
There are several uses of sheep sorrel in the preparation of food including a garnish, a tart flavoring agent, a salad green, and a curdling agent for cheese. The leaves have a lemony, tangy or nicely tart flavor.
Tags:
butterfly, edible weed, weed, edible, wildlife plant, butterfly plant, wildlife

NCCES plant id: 2848

Rumex acetosella Whole plant
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Rumex acetosella Whole plant
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Rumex acetosella Arrow shaped leaves with two lobes at the base.
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Rumex acetosella Flowers - red (female)
Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY - 2.0
Rumex acetosella Flowers - yellowish-green (male)
Lars Rosengreen, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Rumex acetosella Fruits- red achenes
Ian Sutton, CC BY - 2.0