Curled Dock

©Northeast Wildlife

Curled Dock

Scientific name: Rumex crispus
Curled Dock is often considered a 'weed'. It can be found near water or on disturbed ground almost anywhere. It is similar to Broad-leaved Dock, with which it can hybridise.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Curled Dock is a very common plant found in gardens, along roadside verges and hedgerows, on waste ground, and by water. As with other docks, it is often considered a weed of arable and disturbed ground, although it may be left alone on grazing land as extra herbage. As with many of our 'weed' species, Curled Dock shows incredible resistance to change; for example, it can be submerged in floodwaters for up to eight weeks and still survive, despite its preference for drier soils.

How to identify

Curled Dock has slender leaves, usually tapering to a point and with wavy margins. Broad-leaved Dock, on the other hand, has fatter leaves. Curled Dock has tall flower spikes with very densely packed flowers and seeds.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The leaves of Curled Dock can be added to salads or soups, although they should be boiled well to remove any toxicity and they should be young stems as they can taste bitter the older they get.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of buttercups in your lawn or nettles near your compost heap, to see who comes to visit? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.