Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Great Water Dock (Rumex orbiculatus)
- Family: Smartweed (Polygonaceae)
- Flowering: April-May.
- Field Marks: The wings (valves) of the fruit have teeth along the edges, and each wing has a tubercle. The lower leaves are broadly oblong.
- Habitat: Swamps, shallow standing water.
- Habit: Coarse perennial herb with a stout rootstock.
- Stems: Erect, unbranched, smooth, up to 7 feet tall.
- Leaves: Basal leaves broadly oblong; stem leaves lanceolate; all leaves smooth, flat or sometimes wavy along the edges; the lowest up to 10 inches long and up to 6 inches broad.
- Flowers: Many, crowded on branched spikes up to nearly 1 foot long.
- Sepals: 6, green.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Achene surrounded by 3 wings (valves); each wing toothed along the edges and each bearing a tubercle.
- Notes: The fruits are eaten by waterfowl. Flora of the Pacific Northwest by Hitchcock and Cronquist (1973) does not attribute this species to California, although the National Wetlands Inventory lists it from there.
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