Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Curly Dock
Rumex crispus

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex (ROO-meks) (Info)
Species: crispus (KRISP-us) (Info)

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Rumex crispus by kennedyh

By CaptMicha
Thumbnail #2 of Rumex crispus by CaptMicha

By Kim_M
Thumbnail #3 of Rumex crispus by Kim_M

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Thumbnail #4 of Rumex crispus by Equilibrium

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By melody
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By melody
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There are a total of 23 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive tweeber On May 21, 2014, tweeber from West Valley City, UT (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have a couple of these that I started from seed a few years ago. One is about 8' tall (see picture) and the other is only about 3' tall but has a couple different stalks. The main reasons I like this plant are that the seeds attract birds and the leaves are large and provide good shade for the soil so it doesn't dry out. You can grow it almost anywhere and it will thrive. It hasn't spread very much mainly because I think the birds eat the seeds or scatter them in areas away from my house. It doesn't seem to be a problem plant for me. My wife loves them and our cats do too.

Negative holeth On Feb 21, 2011, holeth from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The PA Germans/"PA Dutch" taught me to call this plant "Indian Tobacco," although I know that common name is _also_ used locally to refer to dogbane. (Dogbane is a close kin to asclepias.)

Curly dock has one tough taproot. If I can't dig a plant when it's young, I can only manage to keep it trimmed on the surface & prevent seed. We have several growing entangled in our metal critter fencing. I can't dig them out without wrecking the fence.

Positive rockgardner On Jan 27, 2010, rockgardner from Billerica, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I know it's considered a weed to most people but I kind of like it. It's certainly not been a problem on my property, and the rusty colored seed stalks add a nice contrast to the parts of my yard where I just let grow wild. Considering how many seeds are on those stalks I'm surprised to see only a dozen or so plants come up every year. I pull them all up before the first snow or if they flop over as a precaution to keep them in check.

Positive olmpiad On Jul 8, 2008, olmpiad from Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

A common "weed" to many, Curly Dock has been used for quite a long time, for both it's leaves, and it's seeds. Early settlers would use the seeds as a substitute for flour. The leaves, when young, can be used to make salads, but care must be taken, as they contain oxalic acid, which can cause bladder/kidney stones in excess. This is avoided by boiling the leaves.

Positive melody On Jul 13, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

An annoying weed with a gazillion seeds. Common in vegetable gardens, commercial crops, abandoned lots and barnyards.

The seeds are attractive to wildlife and that's a redeeming quality, but I still pull it out wherever it crops up on my property.


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

Seward, Alaska
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Menifee, California
San Diego, California
Aurora, Colorado
Lamar, Colorado
Springfield, Colorado
Cross Plains, Indiana
Leavenworth, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Falmouth, Maine
Billerica, Massachusetts
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Cole Camp, Missouri
Glouster, Ohio
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Dallas, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Lake Dallas, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Trenton, Utah

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