Curly dock

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Rumex crispus L.

Common name(s): curly dock, curled dock, yellow dock, sour dock, narrow dock

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)




-leaves are

  • simple
  • alternate
  • entire

-may be confused with R. brittanica, but only in wetlands; or with R. obtusifolius, but flower margins are toothed. See left sidebar of Go Botany webpage


-anhropogenic disturbed areas


-meadows and fields

-shores of rivers


Natural History:

-edible leaves and stems

-the leaves are used for potherbs and stuffings

-dried root can be used as a tonic, laxative, and a cure to skin irritations

-Navajo Indians formerly extracted a dye from the roots and the Hopi and Papago used them for treating colds



University of Caliornia. “ Rumex Crispus L.” Rumex Crispus L, 2004,

Go Botany. “Rumex Crispus L.” Rumex Crispus (Curly Dock): Go Botany, 2021,