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Field Sorrel Rumex acetosella

Other Common Name(s):

Description

Rumex acetosella, or Sheep sorrel, is a herbaceous perennial herb consisting of a rosette of basal leaves and occasional flowering stalks. The stalks are slender and upright with reddish ridges. The stems branch at the top and the plant reaches a height of 18 inches. It blooms from March to November and produces either red (female) flowers or yellowish-green (male) flowers. The flowers turn into red achene fruits. 

Sheep sorrel prefers full or partial sunlight, mesic to dry conditions, acid and sandy soil but also thrives on loam or clay loam soil at disturbed sites. It is quite aggressive and considered difficult to manage or eradicate because of its creeping rhizome roots. American Cooper or Small Cooper butterfly depend on it for food. 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. However, they contain significant amounts of oxalic acid, which can be toxic to the kidneys if a sufficiently large quantity of leaves is eaten.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#weed#edible weed#wildlife plant#aggressive#perennials#edible garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#weed#edible weed#wildlife plant#aggressive#perennials#edible garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rumex
    Species:
    acetosella
    Family:
    Polygonaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used in the preparation of food including as a garnish, a tart flavoring agent, a salad green, or a curdling agent for cheese.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eurasia and British Isles
    Distribution:
    throughout
    Wildlife Value:
    American Cooper or Small Cooper butterfly depend on it for food.
    Edibility:
    The leaves have a lemony, tangy or nicely tart flavor.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers can be red (female) or yellowish green (male). The slender flowering stalks are angular or ridged, terminating in a panicle with spike-like racemes of tiny flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Basel leaves are 3 inch arrow-shaped leaves with smooth margins and two lobes at the base.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies