Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Rumex occidentalis S. Wats.
- Family: Smartweed (Polygonaceae)
- Flowering: August-September
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this dock are that the leaves are heart-shaped at the base, and the valves, which are not more than 1 inch long, have no wart-like tubercles.
- Habitat: Marshes.
- Habit: Perennial herb with a taproot.
- Stems: Upright, stout, branched or unbranched, up to 4 1/2 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate and basal, lanceolate to lance-ovate, up to 16 inches long, rounded or pointed at the tip, heart-shaped at the base, wavy along the margin, smooth, on long stalks; upper leaves smaller.
- Flowers: Borne in whorls usually arranged in a dense panicle, the panicle up to 2 feet long; flower stalks 1/4-3/4 inch long.
- Sepals: 6, the outer 3 united at the base, green but becoming rose during fruiting.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3.
- Fruits: Nutlets triangular, closely enclosed by the inner 3 sepals (valves), the valves up to 1/4 inch long, veiny, rose-colored, without bristles or wart-like tubercles, more or less heart-shaped at the base.
- Notes: The fruits are eaten by waterfowl.
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