Common or Garden Sorrel

This is it.

Common SorrelRumex acetosa. The Rumex genus are the Docks and Sorrels and this one is also sometimes known as Narrow-leaved Dock.

Common SorrelThe leaves are described as arrow-shaped (sagittate) they grow alternately and they clasp the stem.

Common Sorrel

Common SorrelIt is dioecious, meaning that it has separate male and female plants.

This is the male with staminate flowers.

Common Sorrel male plant

Common Sorrel male plant

Common Sorrel male plantThe female plant bears both the pistillate flowers and the fruits.

Common Sorrel female flower

Common Sorrel female flower

Common Sorrel female flowerCommon Sorrel is an edible plant that was once widelyΒ cultivated for the kitchen as a salad leaf and herb. It also has medicinal properties. It has been grown this way for hundreds of years but in Britain it lost favour to French Sorrel which has a milder flavour.

I think that this Β one is more suited to cultivation in your little vegetable plot than foraging from the wild. It is the leaf that you want and these wild plants haven’t got much leaf on them. I have read that you have to clip off young leaves to create a more bushy plant and cut it right back when the flower stalk starts to grow.

Never mind I will still have a taste of it next time I am out there.

Common SorrelThe Docks can be quite difficult to get to species because they hybridise easily. I think that this is one of the easier ones to identify πŸ™‚

20 thoughts on “Common or Garden Sorrel”

    1. Thank you Nancy πŸ™‚ I must admit that I haven’t tried this yet My landlord has told me that I could have some space if I wanted to grow things, he grows his own veg. I hadn’t bothered because I didn’t expect to be able to stay. There are quite a few “Weeds” that I would like to grow, sort of a medieval garden of things that we used to call food. I think that would be quite interesting and make for a few good blog posts too but it needs a bit of planning. Food for thought πŸ™‚

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      1. I tried a piece of her French sorrel and it’s sour and I don’t like it! I grow a couple things that were eaten during the middle ages, some wormwoods, and an herb called lovage. Wrote a blog about it once. It tastes like strong celery and it’s actually the plant celery seeds for cooking come from. It’s not good to eat plain, but if you throw a couple stalks in soup, it gives an interesting celery-like flavor. It holds up to cooking well and you can discard it when the soup is done. Maybe you want to check that one out.

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    1. Thank you Maureen πŸ™‚ I love the dioecious plants. It is just more interesting if you have two different types of flower. I have nothing against hermaphrodites, don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are um…Barren Strawberries. I had better quit now while I am still ahead πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Andrew πŸ™‚ I had a crack at the Docks last summer, it is not easy to get them to species. I think that you will have to look closely at their nutlets πŸ™‚

      The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland are my preferred authority
      Their full list of cribs can be found here:
      BSBI Plant Crib
      and their Rumex crib here:
      BSBI Rumex

      If you can get Cicuta58 (BSBI) to confirm your Rumex observations then I will be impressed πŸ™‚


    1. Thank you Eliza πŸ™‚ Aren’t they? But you have to look closely. From just a short distance this looks just like a reddish brown weed, it all blurs together. Lots of things are like that πŸ™‚

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  1. Such a lovely plant when you look closely at it, as you say. I took a few photos of the docks in my garden and the lanes last year and found what I thought was common sorrel, curled dock and broad-leaved dock. I tried growing common sorrel a few years ago but wasn’t able to harvest much for me as the rabbits got there first. I did find it very bitter but had thought to chop it up and add it to a cheese dish but never got the opportunity (rabbits). My family weren’t keen either 😦

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      1. πŸ˜€ They are extremely good at looking after themselves. We have a very sweet looking baby rabbit in the garden who enjoys eating all we have to offer. It gets around with a few little hops and then a very big high jump in the air. Very comical!


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