Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bloody Dock, Red-veined Dock, Bloodwort
Rumex sanguineus

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex (ROO-meks) (Info)
Species: sanguineus (san-GWIN-ee-us) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

37 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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By Gabrielle
Thumbnail #1 of Rumex sanguineus by Gabrielle

By floraphiliac
Thumbnail #2 of Rumex sanguineus by floraphiliac

By Sheila_FW
Thumbnail #3 of Rumex sanguineus by Sheila_FW

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #4 of Rumex sanguineus by Equilibrium

By Baa
Thumbnail #5 of Rumex sanguineus by Baa

By henryr10
Thumbnail #6 of Rumex sanguineus by henryr10

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #7 of Rumex sanguineus by Happenstance

There are a total of 32 photos.
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15 positives
6 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On May 15, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A handsome foliage plant.

This last winter was colder than average (Boston Z6a). The plants in one garden died, and those in another are healthy.

Where they were allowed to go to seed, there's a solid mat of seedlings a couple of feet across, with individual seedlings scattered as much as 20 feet away. I'm afraid this plant can be a problem self-sower, if the flowering stem isn't cut early.

Positive rrbart On Mar 29, 2012, rrbart from Eudora, KS wrote:

We love our Bloody Dock. I bought ours 3 years ago.. and have not seen it since.. Looked everywhere.. this year we have started to weed the garden and to our suprise one had seeded Last year and we have a few new seedling coming up. dug some and potted them, raked the rest under. Can't wait to transplant them in the rest of the garden. have never tried to eat them. Just love the color in the perennial garden. The first year the heat was hard on them but they have held up well and the hard winters have not bothered them at all. Very happy with the Plant.. Glad to have more. They are in full sun!

Positive in2art On Jun 29, 2011, in2art from Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this much that I am willing to work to manage its bad habits.

The good: beautifully veined leaves postively glow in sunlight. A really nice accent foliage in the garden.

The bad: it can be aggressive; mine does not spread via runners or anything of that nature, but sends up shoots with leaves on them, that seem to go straight to seed (no noticeable flowers). The first year, I didn't know any better and now have them in many places.

If you dig them when they are young, they are easy and don't resent it as much. I have dug fully mature plants too. They will be wilty at first, but have all recovered within a week or so. In my humble opinion, the "trick" to these is to cut off all of the shoots as soon as you notice them. cut them close to the base. This encourages more basal growth and makes for an attractive plant. Once they get tall, I don't like the look of them. Plus, those are the tender, small leaves that are best for eating (I don't like them myself, they taste bitter).

Positive nicholtammy On Jul 4, 2010, nicholtammy from Huntsville
Canada wrote:

I dug it up from a friends house it was in a semi shady spot I put it in semi sunny spot and it is a clump 1 foot squared not shure how old it is a few years it hasn't spread maybe depends on which cultivar it is

Neutral Malus2006 On Jun 5, 2010, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Survives a zone 4 winter - but doesn't always come back each year. Seem to do better in a large container in the pond.

Positive esteve59 On Apr 1, 2010, esteve59 from Annapolis, MD wrote:

I planted it last year and it stayed evergreen thru the 2010 blizzard,,,,
Seems to do well next to my pond in a very wet boggy soil...
So far it has not spread,,,,,

Positive diamond9192002 On Dec 10, 2009, diamond9192002 from (Anita) Fort Wayne, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I am in zone 5 and started this plant from seed. It has gotten quite a bit bigger over the years. When I moved the plant to a full sun location, it didn't look good for a while but made a full recovery. This is a carefree plant and is absolutely beautiful in my zone with striking burgundy veins.

Neutral sadies1mom On May 22, 2009, sadies1mom from Portland, OR wrote:

This is a beautiful plant. The foilage alone is what helped with the decision to purchase it. I haven't ever heard of it but, plan on following the advice from fellow owners on this site. Wish me luck!!

Positive velmansia On May 5, 2009, velmansia from Antioch, TN wrote:

I have been growing this plant now for 3yrs and it has not grown much for me or invade. It does like moist soil so my dry clay soil was not aiding growth. Love the look of this plant.

Neutral ClimbTheMtns On Apr 25, 2009, ClimbTheMtns from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

Interesting to see the variations of form/color between all the pictures uploaded of this Dock/Sorrel. Is it because they are subspecies (ssp).

I'm into creating a perennial vegetable garden and this Dock fills the bill. Mine is in it's second year and it has not spread at all; on the contrary, it has stayed in one place. I'll report back if it starts creeping this year.

A beautiful plant to add to borders while providing a wee bit oxalic acid/lemony greens to the occasional salad.

Negative donicaben On Jul 30, 2008, donicaben from Ogdensburg, NY wrote:

So invasive it will make you cry.

I have HUGE holes all over my back garden from trying to dig this stuff out. We'll see if all the digging did any good next year.

Negative lazeegardner On Jul 26, 2008, lazeegardner from Monroe, MI wrote:

HELP! I love this plant, or did at first, then by the second year it totally invaded my entire landscape. I dug up the original plants but it was too late, it already "tunneled" into other parts of my landscape. I want to get rid of it, but don't know how without killing the rest of my plants. Does anyone know how to kill the original roots without disturbing my other foilage and flowering plants (perineals)????

Positive Thom228 On Jun 18, 2008, Thom228 from Roanoke, VA wrote:

Like some others, I have to chuckle when I see the suggestion to avoid overwatering. I too bought this plant as one for my pond and it is really thriving as a marginal. It took a week or so to get going, but once it did it really took off.

As for edible, well I don't like the idea of eating from our goldfish pond, but you never know what I might try if food prices keep going up!

Positive Fleurs On Jan 8, 2007, Fleurs from Columbia, SC wrote:

In partial shade, Rumex looks outstanding all year in my Southeastern garden. Very easy to grow from winter sowed seed, Rumex makes a lovely edger.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 15, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is such an interesting foliage plant. I bought a gallon one and divided it in two. One I put in the flower bed, and one in the pond. They both filled in quickly. I have a deicer in my pond, so left the Bloody Dock in the water. It is doing well and keeps putting out new growth. Even what is in the ground doesn't die back completely here in zone 5a. It will also self-seed. Prone to powdery mildew. Blooms in July in my garden, but blooms are insignificant.

My information says it is hardy in zones 5-8 and will grow in full to partial sun. Another name is Bloodwort.

Neutral MarleneRose On Sep 5, 2004, MarleneRose from Markham
Canada wrote:

I just bought this plant today at a nursery specializing in herbs. It was being sold as an edible. I thought the leaf would look nice added to a salad. The tag on the plant says

Bloody Dock "Rumex Sanguineus" (Bloodwort)
Young leaves used like spinach, fresh or blanched. Roots used medicinally to treat cancer and as a blood tonic.


Positive CatskillKarma On Jul 25, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I have lost this plant over the winter on occasion, but continue to grow it. I am on the border between zones 4 and 5. Snow cover seems more important than cold in success over the winter. My plants are in full sun and are a good deal redder than those in the pix here.

Positive scooterbug On Jul 23, 2004, scooterbug from Tellico Plains, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

Really like this plant but I had to relocate it due to excessive wilting in full sun. So now it resides where it only gets morning sun.

Positive hunnybee On Jun 21, 2004, hunnybee from Evergreen Park, IL wrote:

I love the look of the bloody dock and it's easy to grow. However, I had to relocate it when it began to take over the other plants in it's area. It did not transplant well at all. It's leaves became very wilty and it's slumpped over now. I'm afraid I may have killed it.

Positive plantbear On May 31, 2004, plantbear from Wilmington, VT wrote:

We are firmly into zone 4 and our bloody dock came back after a severely cold winter. Even bigger than last year.

Positive Happenstance On Sep 1, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

It is Sept 1st and this rumex has been cut back twice since April, getting ready to flower again.

Positive henryr10 On Jul 2, 2003, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I bought this as a "Depth 2" water garden plant (=water level from plant crown up to 6" deep) and have been growing it for a month now in full sun in a water container and it is thriving.

We have now over-wintered this plant for 2 years.
In a pond in a container no problem.
One is now going to seed so we see how well the seeds do.

Neutral Baa On Sep 11, 2001, Baa wrote:

Perennial from Europe and North Africa. Has large, broad, lance shaped, mid green leaves with deep red veining up to 6 inches long. Bears panicles of tiny, star shaped flowers starting out green then turning to reddish brown with age, borne on reddish stems.

Flowers between April - August.

Sometimes grown in bog gardens but really prefers well drained, slightly moist and moderately fertile soil in full sun. Has a very deep tap root and therefore may be difficult to get rid of.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Cullman, Alabama
Wetumpka, Alabama
Searcy, Arkansas
Anderson, California
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Fairfield, California
Fremont, California
Palo Alto, California
Richmond, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Cruz, California
Walnut Creek, California
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Payette, Idaho
Palmyra, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Wheaton, Illinois
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Eudora, Kansas
Skowhegan, Maine
Temple, Maine
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Charlevoix, Michigan
Highland, Michigan
Livonia, Michigan
Ludington, Michigan
Owosso, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Mount Vernon, Missouri
Westphalia, Missouri
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
Ogdensburg, New York
West Islip, New York
West Kill, New York
Durham, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Coshocton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Freedom, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Isle Of Palms, South Carolina
Okatie, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Clarksville, Tennessee
Toone, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Fate, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Princeton, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Leesburg, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Concrete, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

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