Herb: Buckler-Leaved Sorrel

Latin name: Rumex scutatus

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Medicinal use of Buckler-Leaved Sorrel:

The leaves are antiscorbutic, astringent, diuretic, laxative and refrigerant. They are rarely used as a specifically medicinal plant.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Old walls and mountain pastures.

Edible parts of Buckler-Leaved Sorrel:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A delicious lemon-like flavour, most people find them overpowering if used in quantity, but they make a delightful addition to the salad bowl and can also be used as a pot-herb. This species has less acid leaves and so is often preferred to sorrel (R, acetosa). The leaves should be used sparingly due to the oxalic acid content.

Other uses of the herb:

The cultivar "Silver Shield" makes a good, if rampant, ground cover beside paths and at the front of borders. 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 Buckler-Leaved Sorrel:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is rapid, the seedlings can be pricked out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and are planted out in early summer. It should also be possible to sow the seed in situ in mid spring. Division in spring. Division is easy at any time in the growing season, though the plants establish better in the spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Old walls and mountain pastures.

Known hazards of Rumex scutatus:

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.