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"Narrow-leaved Dock" and variants redirect here. These terms may also refer to Curled Dock (R. crispus).
Sorrel
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. acetosa
Binomial name
Rumex acetosa
L.
Synonyms

Rumex stenophyllus Ledeb.

Common Sorrel or Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), often simply called sorrel and also known as Spinach Dock or Narrow-leaved Dock, is a perennial herb that is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable (pot herb). This is not related to Jamaican sorrel (roselle).

Contents

Growth

Sorrel is a slender plant about 60 cm high, with roots that run deep into the ground, as well as juicy stems and edible, oblong leaves. The lower leaves are 7 to 15 cm in length, slightly arrow-shaped at the base, with very long petioles. The upper ones are sessile, and frequently become crimson. The leaves are eaten by the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) including the Blood-vein moth.

Characteristics

It has whorled spikes of reddish-green flowers, which bloom in summer, becoming purplish. The stamens and pistils are on different plants (dioecious); the ripe seeds are brown and shining.

Uses

Common sorrel has been cultivated for centuries. The leaves may be puréed in soups and sauces or added to salads and shav; they have a flavour that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries. The plant's sharp taste is due to ascorbic acid.

In Northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as Yakuwa or Sure (pronounced suuray) in Hausa or Karassu in Kanuri. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using Kuli-Kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income.

Subspecies

Several subspecies have been named; not all are cultivated:

  • Rumex acetosa ssp. acetosa
  • Rumex acetosa ssp. ambiguus
  • Rumex acetosa ssp. arifolius
  • Rumex acetosa ssp. hibernicus
  • Rumex acetosa ssp. hirtulus
  • Rumex acetosa ssp. vinealis

See also

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'SORREL,' Acetosa, a member of the natural order Polygonaceae, a hardy perennial, native to Britain and found throughout the north temperate zone. The leaves are used in soups, salads and sauces. Sorrel grows freely in any good garden soil, and is increased by dividing the roots during the early part of spring. They should be planted in rows 15 to 18 in. apart. The leaves, when fully grown, are gathered singly. The common garden sorrel is much superior to the wild plant; but the Belleville, which is the kind generally cultivated near Paris, is still better, its leaves being larger and not so acid. The Blistered-leaved, which has large leaves with a blistered surface, has the advantage of being slow in running to seed. French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus) is a hardy perennial, distributed through Europe but not native in Britain, with densely-branched trailing stems. The leaves are roundish, heart-shaped and glaucous; they are more acid than those of the common sorrel.


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