An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

CURLY DOCK

Illustration

BUCKWHEAT FAMILY-Polygonaceae

CURLY DOCK-Rumex crispus L.

DESCRIPTION-A restricted noxious weed in Arizona, curly dock is a perennial, 1 1/2 to 4 feet high, with a large deep taproot, reproducing by seed. The smooth fleshy stems die back each fall, and new ones arise each spring. The bluish green lanceshaped leaves are alternate above, and often a large basal rosette is produced late in the fall. They are 3 to 12 inches or more long including the stalk, with noticeably wavy and curly edges.

The small flowers, yellowish green at first, but becoming rosy, then reddish brown, in fruit are borne in a large loose, branching flowering cluster, 1/2 to 2 feet long, at the top of the stems. These flowers aren't nearly as densely compact as in canaigre. As in all dock, the 6 flower parts do not look like petals. The 3 inner parts become greatly enlarged and heartshaped; they surround the tiny fruit, and have the appearance of wings. At maturity these wings are 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, and each usually has a little wartlike thickening on the back. Each flower produces one glossy, triangular achene, about 1/12 inch long.

DISTRIBUTION-Curly dock, an Eurasian introduction, grows in deep moist soil. It is very common along roadsides and waste places, but is a pernicious weed in permanent pastures, irrigation ditches, and in many cultivated crops. It is found throughout the state; from 100 to 8,000 feet elevation, flowering May to October.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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