An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

CANAIGRE,wild rhubarb



CANAIGRE-Rumex hymenosepalus Torr.

DESCRIPTION-Coarse perennials with stout fleshy stems, 1 to 3 feet high, reproducing by seed. In canaigre, the stems arise from a cluster of 2 to 12 long dahlialike tubers, buried deep in the ground so they are seldom seen. The bright green leaves are hairless, and have thin papery sheaths at the base of the stalk which completely surround the stem (as in all dock species).

The rosette and lower leaves are 2/3 to 2 feet long, and 2 to 4 inches broad, with smooth edges, not wavy as in curly dock. The crowded flower branches form a very dense leafless flower cluster, about 1/2 to 1 foot long, at the top of the stem. These may superficially resemble those of milo maize. The 6 greenish flower parts are similar to those of curly dock; the 3 inner parts become enlarged and enclose the fruit. These flower parts are l/2 to 2/3 inch long at maturity, and do not have a wartlike thickening on the back. The achenes are very similar to those of curly dock, but larger.

DISTRIBUTION-Canaigre is a native plant. Like curly dock, it grows in deep moist, often sandy soil along roadsides, fields, streambeds, and stagnant pools throughout most of Arizona, but isn't nearly as common. It is found at 1,000 to 6,000 feet elevation; flowering very early, in March and April in southern Arizona, and until June northward. Canaigre contains a high percentage of tannin; the Agricultural Research Service, U.S.D.A. has developed improved varieties that offer promise as a crop. The tannin is excellent for leather making.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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