Herb: Fiddle Dock

Latin name: Rumex pulcher

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Edible parts of Fiddle Dock:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Added to salads, they have an acid flavour.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Dry sunny habitats in sandy soils, occasionally on chalk and limestone.

Other uses of Fiddle Dock:

Although no specific mention has been made for this species, 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 the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring.

Cultivation of Fiddle Dock:

Dry sunny habitats in sandy soils, occasionally on chalk and limestone.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Rumex pulcher:

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.