Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sheep's Sorrel, Red Sorrel, Sour Weed
Rumex acetosella

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Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex (ROO-meks) (Info)
Species: acetosella (a-kee-TOE-sell-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Acetosella vulgaris

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Herbs
Perennials

Height:
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Spacing:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Danger:
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Red

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter

Foliage:
Herbaceous

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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Profile:

2 positives
3 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive DannyJoe On Jul 15, 2013, DannyJoe from York, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Thanks for the warnings about invasiveness.

Adds a nice zing to salads.
Used to treat Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) and cancer.

Positive encartaphile On Nov 11, 2009, encartaphile from Marshfield, MO wrote:

On a positive note about this plant, it is one of the four ingredients in the Ojibwa tea of life, used as an immune system tonic and potentially a cure for cancer. PlantFiles has it listed that all parts of the plant are poisonous, but so far the only reference to anyone being poisoned by this plant that I have found were some sheep in New Zealand. Apparently, in rare instances a high concentration of nitrates can accumulate in the plant and cause poisoning. Also, a large quantity of oxalates (such as those consumed by sheep on a sorrel binge) can cause calcium deficiency, renal failure and nervous disorders. So as long as you're not a sheep presented with a whole field of sorrel, it doesn't sound like a few cups of Native American tea would do you any real harm.

Neutral MotherNature4 On Apr 27, 2006, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I would not want this in my yard, but it grows in fields around here. I used to gather the blooms & leaves, boil them, then use the strained liquid to make a delicious and beautiful jelly.

Negative berrygirl On Apr 26, 2006, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Is there a rating worse than negative? This weed has been a nightmare for me for about 3 years now. It has overtaken several flower beds and a good portion of grass. We have pulled and dug so many times and probably put down a million pages of newspaper trying to keep it from coming back. The runner roots go for miles!

Negative CaptMicha On Sep 25, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

These weed is horribly invasive. It grows anywhere, under any conditions.

If you try to remove a plant, it gets cut off below the soil line and you get more plants in place of that one.

Neutral Heels On Jan 29, 2003, Heels from Newton, NJ wrote:

This is an indicator of increased soil acidity in lawns (useful as a diagnostic)

Neutral Baa On Oct 1, 2001, Baa wrote:

A perennial from Europe and can be found in almost all temperate regions across the world.

Has arrow shaped, light-mid green, leaves which often turn red in Autumn. Bears spikes of reddish, tiny flowers.

Flowers May-August.

Loves acid soil and may tolerate neutral soil, well drained and poorish soil are preferred. Likes grassland and loves lawns, where it will march rapidly gaining large portions of territory if not kept in check.

The leaves are used in cooking and leaves can be chewed to quench thirst, it contains quite a few minerals the main one being selenium. It has a bitter taste so don't be too free with its useage. It is used in soups and salads mainly and is more palatable than common sorrel.

It has also been used as a diuretic and as a treatment for kidney diseases.

John Evelyn (1700's herbalist) reckoned it 'It renders not plants and herbs only, but men themselves more pleasent and agreeable'.

Regional...

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

Bigelow, Arkansas
Bartow, Florida
Braselton, Georgia
Cresaptown-bel Air, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Brush Creek, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Penn Wynne, Pennsylvania
Aiken, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
York, South Carolina
North Shore, Virginia



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