Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Rumex acetosella L.
- Family: Smartweed (Polygonaceae)
- Flowering: April-September
- Field Marks: This species of Rumex is easily recognized by its hastate basal leaves (that is, the leaves have a pair of basal lobes that project at right angles to the main axis of the blade) and the valves on the fruit the same length as
- Habitat: Disturbed areas, often in acid soil.
- Habit: Perennial herb from slender rhizomes.
- Stems: Spreading to ascending, usually unbranched, up to 15 inches long, smooth.
- Leaves: Mostly basal, hastate, up to 2 inches long, pointed at the tip, smooth, on long stalks.
- Flowers: Very small, in rings (whorls) around the upper part of the stem, the inflorescence slender, up to 6 inches long, yellow or red, with small or no bracts; male and female flowers usually on separate plants.
- Sepals: 6, green to yellow to reddish, about 1/20 inch long, united at their base.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3.
- Fruits: Achenes ellipsoid, about 1/20 inch long, surrounded by 3 valves of about the same length.
- Notes: This species is native to Europe. The 3 valves that surround the achene are the persistent inner 3 sepals.
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