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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

Rumex L. -- Dock


Erect to spreading, often weedy perennials (annual in R. maritimus), usually from stout, often few-branched taproots, often tall in stature, some with a basal clump of large leaves, the stems often tinged with purple. Leaves generally oblong to lanceolate, cuneate to rounded, truncate or cordate at the base, flat to undulate-crisped along the margins, usually petioled, the lowest leaves often long-petioled; ocreae usually membranous, brittle when dry. Inflorescence consisting of 1 or more, often large, dense, terminal, leafy-bracteate panicles of racemose branches in which the flowers are crowded in whorls, the entire inflorescence often comprising much of the upper part of the plant. Flowers small and numerous, green, eventually turning brown; calyx herbaceous, the sepals in 2 cycles of 3, the outer 3 sepals remaining small after anthesis, the inner 3 sepals (the valves) expanding, becoming winged, the margins veiny, entire to sinuate, dentate or spinulose-toothed, the valves loosely coherent around the achene with the margins appressed to each other, giving the appearance of a 3-winged fruit, the midvein of the valve often swollen to produce a grainlike tubercle on the back; stamens 6; styles 3. Achenes brown, sharply trigonous, apiculate, enclosed by the persistent calyx.

References:

Love, D. and F. J. Bernard.  1958.  Rumex stenophyllus in North America.  Rhodora
     60:54-57.

Rechinger, K. H., Jr.  1937.  The North American species of Rumex.  Publ. Field 
     Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 17:1-151.

Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Margins of mature valves coarsely to spinulose-toothed. Lead 2
1 Margins of mature valves entire to sinuate or shallowly erose, not toothed. Lead 3
2 Plants perennial from a stout taproot; margins of the valves coarsely toothed. R. stenophyllus
2 Plants annual, fibrous-rooted or with a slender taproot; margins of the valves deeply dissected into spinulose teeth. R. maritimus
3 Valves, or at least one of them, with a grainlike tubercle on the back. Lead 4
3 Valves lacking grainlike tubercles. Lead 9
4 Pedicels without a visibly swollen joint; tubercles 3, the base of the tubercle distinctly above the base of the valve. R. orbiculatus
4 Pedicels with a visibly swollen joint below the middle or near the base; tubercles 1-3, the base of the tubercle even with the base of the valve. Lead 5
5 Plant branched and spreading, leafy throughout, with clusters of leaves or short branches in the axils of the main cauline leaves, the leaves not greatly reduced upward on the stem; blades flat to slightly undulate. Lead 6
5 Plant usually simple or seldom few-stemmed, the stem(s) erect, unbranched below the inflorescence, with large basal leaves and smaller leaves upward on the stem; blades undulate to undulate-crisped; valves ovate-deltate to rotund-ovate or reniform, rounded to cordate at the base. Lead 7
6 Principal leaves ovate-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, mostly not more than 4X longer than broad; tubercle usually well- developed on only 1 of the 3 valves. R. altissimus
6 Principal leaves oblong-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, mostly more than 4X longer than broad; tubercles well developed on 1-3 of the valves. R. mexicanus
7 Tubercles 1-3, well-developed, the largest at least 1/2 as long as the valve. R. crispus
7 Tubercle 1, poorly developed, the largest 1/3 or less as long as the valve. Lead 8
8 Valves 3.5-5 mm long. R. pseudonatronatus
8 Valves (5)6-9 mm long. R. patientia
9 Pedicels lacking a visibly swollen joint; principal leaf blades truncate to cordate at the base. R. occidentalis
9 Pedicels with a visibly swollen joint near the base; principal leaf blades acute to rounded at the base. Lead 10
10 Plant branched and spreading, leafy throughout, with clusters of leaves or short branches in the axils, the leaves not greatly reduced upward on the stem, flat to slightly undulate. Lead 11
10 Plant usually simple or seldom few-stemmed, the stem(s) erect, unbranched below the inflorescence, with large basal leaves and smaller leaves upward on the stem, the blades undulate-crisped. R. pseudonatronatus
11 Principal leaves ovate-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, mostly not more than 4X longer than broad. R. altissimus
11 Principal leaves oblong-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, mostly more than 4X longer than broad. R. mexicanus


15. Polygonaceae, the Smartweed Family
2. Rumex L. -- Dock
1. Rumex altissimus Wood -- Pale dock
2. Rumex crispus L. -- Sour dock, curled dock
3. Rumex maritimus L. -- Golden dock
4. Rumex mexicanus Meisn. -- Mexican dock, willow-leaved dock
5. Rumex occidentalis S. Wats. --Western dock
6. Rumex orbiculatus A. Gray -- Great water dock
7. Rumex patientia L. -- Patience dock
8. Rumex pseudonatronatus Borbas
9. Rumex stenophyllus Ledeb.


Return to Family -- Polygonaceae - The Smartweed Family
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