CURLED DOCK

Rumex crispus

Dock & Knotweed Family [Polygonaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
flower
flower8red
 
flower
flower8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6
(3+3)
type
typeZclustered
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 

Rumex crispus ssp. crispus

Commonest Inland
Photos still to do...

Rumex crispus ssp. littoreus

Commonest by the Sea

1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
Usually very near the sea and less than 1m tall.


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
colour varies depending upon ripeness of fruits, from green through pink to finally brown. Sea Mayweed in foreground, Common Cord-Grass in middle-ground.


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
Branches densely populated with fruits.


6th Sept 2015, near the sea, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Fruits dangling in whorls.


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
Usually takes on a reddish-brown or pink colouration.


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
There are three shield-shaped tepals (2.5 - 3.5mm long) in which the smaller (< 3.5mm) white egg-shaped to pear-shaped (where they are longer) tubercles nest; these are the fruits.


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
The turbercles may redden with the rest of the plant. In ssp. littoreus there are usually three tubercles, one for each tepal, but they are of slightly differing sizes. (In ssp. crispus there is usually only one fully-developed tubercle per achene, the rest being either absent or much smaller).


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD


6th Sept 2015, near the sea, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


1st Aug 2013, saltmarsh, Hightown, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
The leaves are narrow, oblong to lanceolate to elliptic, and deeply crisped (wrinkly) at the edges. (But in the hybrid with Broad-leaved Dock the leaves are only slightly crisped)


6th Sept 2015, near the sea, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
In the sub-species ssp. littoreus, which grows by the sea (as here), there are usually three more-or-less equally sized oblong fruits, as opposed to usually having only one fruit. The three fruits are on each side of a 'tri-star' arrangement of 3 tepals.


6th Sept 2015, near the sea, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are white at first and covered in slight and tiny ripples.


6th Sept 2015, near the sea, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The tepals have a network of raised veins but virtually no teeth.


There are three sub-species, two of which are common:

  • Rumex crispus ssp. crispus which is mostly found inland but can be on the coast with achene smaller at 1.3-2.5mm and with tubercle smaller at <2.5mm. Moreover, the tubercles are un-equal in size and often there are only one (rather than 3)
  • Rumex crispus ssp. littoreus which is found only near the coast, often in the salt zone. Fruits are densely clustered with three tubercles <3.5mm long (but often not quite equal in length).

The third sub-species, Rumex crispus ssp. uliginosus grows on tidal mud in estuaries, but that is a very rare [RRR] and occurs in Southern Britain and Southern Ireland. It is often higher than 1m with the fruits loosely clustered (whereas ssp. littoreus is usually lower than 1m the fruits densely clustered).

Hybridises with : almost every other dock, such as Wood Dock, Fiddle Dock, Patience Dock, Marsh Dock, Broad-leaved Dock, Golden Dock, Northern Dock, Water Dock, Argentine Dock, Greek Dock, Clustered Dock, Russian Dock and Scottish Dock except Shore Dock.  See Rumex Hybrid Chart

The most common Dock hybrid out of all possible dock hybrids is that of Curled Dock Rumex crispus with Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius which is named Rumex × pratensis. This hybrid is common throughout the UK but only where the two parents meet and is by far the most common Dock hybrid, being also the most fertile (which is not saying a lot, its fertility is low). It is recognised by its intermediate leaves and tepals (and by its low fertility).

With such a diverse and prolific number of docks with which Curled Dock can hybridise, your Author can never be sure whether all the above photos are of the pure strain. But seeing as the Sefton Coast is nowhere near Southern Britain, he can be sure that no ssp. uliginosus are mis-represented under ssp. littoreus.


  Rumex crispus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Polygonaceae  

BSBI Distribution Maps
 family8Dock & Knotweed family8Polygonaceae
 crispus
 family8Dock & Knotweed family8Polygonaceae
 sens. lat.
 family8Dock & Knotweed family8Polygonaceae
 littoreus
genus8Rumex
Rumex
(Docks)

CURLED DOCK

Rumex crispus

Dock & Knotweed Family [Polygonaceae]