Herb: Sharp Dock

Latin name: Rumex conglomeratus

Synonyms: Rumex acutus, Rumex glomeratus

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Medicinal use of Sharp Dock:

The root is antiscorbutic and astringent. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of scurvy and as a general blood cleanser. This infusion is also useful in the treatment of bleeding. Externally it is made into an ointment and applied to cutaneous eruptions. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of several skin diseases.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Damp grassy places, sometimes also found in woods.

Edible parts of Sharp Dock:

Leaves - cooked. Eaten as greens. Very bitter, especially as the leaves grow older. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder and added to flours when making bread, biscuits etc. The seed is small and fiddly to harvest.

Other uses of the herb:

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant.

Propagation of Sharp Dock:

Seed - sow spring in situ. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Damp grassy places, sometimes also found in woods.

Known hazards of Rumex conglomeratus:

Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.