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Weed Seed: Rumex spp. (Dock)



Common Name



Secondary Noxious, Class 3 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act, with the exception of Rumex maritimus and Rumex acetosella.


Canadian: Occurs in all Canadian provinces and territories (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1).

Worldwide: Native to northern Africa, Asia and Europe (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2). Naturalized in southern and eastern Africa, southeastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, North America and South America (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2). Widespread in the United States (USDA-NRCS 2016Footnote 3).

Duration of life cycle

Annual, Biennial or Perennial; most are perennial

Seed or fruit type

Achene, may be in a perianth

Identification features



Surface Texture


Other Features

Habitat and Crop Association

Meadows, pastures, roadsides, fencerows and waste places (Frankton and Mulligan 1993Footnote 4). Some species, such as R. crispus, are weeds of cultivated fields and pastures (Royer and Dickinson 1999Footnote 5).

General Information

There are 34 species of dock present in Canada, of which 20 are native and 14 are introduced (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1). Most of these species are very difficult to identify by the achene. It usually requires the presence of the perianth for species identification but this is usually removed during processing in commercial grain lots.

Some Rumex species that are widespread in Canada show regional abundance in certain provinces; R. pseudonatronatus is most commonly found in Alberta and Saskatchewan, R. longifolius is abundant in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick (Darbyshire 2003Footnote 6). Rumex crispus is found throughout Canada and the United States (Government of British Columbia 2002). R. obtusifolius is found in most western states in the U.S. (DiTomaso et al. 2013Footnote 7).

Similar species

Rumex spp.


Curled dock (Rumex crispus) achenes and perianths
Curled dock (Rumex crispus) achene
Curled dock (Rumex crispus) achene
Curled dock (Rumex crispus) achene, cross-section
Bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius) achenes
Bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius) achene
Field dock (Rumex pseudonatronatus) achenes and perianths
Field dock (Rumex pseudonatronatus) achene
Dock (Rumex sp.) seed, cross section
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