Rumex acetosella L.
sheep sorrel (common sheep sorrel)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #6580)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Rumex acetosella
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Annual or perennial dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) herb from slender rhizomes and simple to branched crowns; stems erect, several, simple (below the inflorescence), 15-30 cm tall, smooth.
Basal leaves linear to egg-shaped, at least some arrowhead-shaped, with the lobes pointing outwards, smooth, the blades 1-5 cm long, the stalks often longer than the blades; stem leaves alternate, similar but reduced upward, nearly unstalked.
Inflorescence of unisexual flowers in an open, large but narrow panicle; flower stalks jointed near the base of the flower; perianths 1-1.5 mm long, reddish to yellowish, the inner segments tightly enclosing the achenes, lacking a grain-like swelling.
Achenes, golden brown, smooth, about 1.5 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Rumex acetosella

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
706 31 2055
Slope Gradient (%)
28 0 84

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

181 30 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

CDF(11), CWH(2), ESSF(2), ICH(5), IDF(14), MS(2), PP(2), SBPS(1), SBS(1), SWB(1)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry gardens, fields, roadsides and waste places; common in S BC, rare northward; introduced from Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Acetosella acetosella (L.) Small
Acetosella tenuifolia (Wallr.) A. Löve
Acetosella vulgaris Fourr.
Rumex acetosella subsp. acetosella
Rumex acetosella subsp. angiocarpus (Murb.) Murb.
Rumex acetosella var. pyrenaeus (Pourr.) Timbal-Lagrave
Rumex acetosella var. tenuifolius Wallr.
Rumex angiocarpus Murb.
Rumex tenuifolius (Wallr.) A. Löve