Rumex obtusifolius L.
bitter dock
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #11423)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

Perennial herb from a large taproot; stems erect, solitary, simple (below the inflorescence), 60-120 cm tall, pimply and finely hairy.
Basal leaves widely oblong or widely egg-shaped, heart-shaped at the base, the margins often crisped, the blades 10-30 cm long, the stalks long; stem leaves alternate, several, similar to basal leaves but reduced upward.
Inflorescence of numerous flowers in a large, many-flowered panicle, 30-50 cm long; perianths greenish-brown, the segments with short, stout teeth on each margin; outer segments about 3 mm long, the ascending inner segments about 5 mm long, net-veined, the margins with 2-4 teeth and usually 1 of the 3 segments with a prominent, grain-like swelling.
Achenes, brown, smooth, shiny, about 2 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 obtusifolius

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)
51 1 324
Slope Gradient (%)
2 0 5

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

247 180 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 6 7
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(6), CWH(3)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry roadsides and disturbed areas in the lowland zone; frequent in SW BC, infrequent in SC BC, rare in the Queen Charlotte Islands; introduced from Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Acetosa oblongifolia (L.) A. Löve & D. Löve
Rumex obtusifolius subsp. agrestis (Fr.) Danser
Rumex obtusifolius subsp. obtusifolius
Rumex obtusifolius subsp. sylvestris (Wallr.) Rech. f.
Rumex obtusifolius var. sylvestris (Wallr.) Koch