Great water-dock (Rumex orbiculatus)

Rumex orbiculatus - Great water-dock

Rumex orbiculatus – Great water-dock Seedhead

Synonym: Rumex britannica

Plant Family: Smartweed, Polygonaceae

Wetland Indicator Status: OBL

Great water-dock (Rumex orbiculatus) is the plant that stands out whether it is standing stall above sedges, or its dark brown seeds catching they eye among grasses of the same height.  It produces large disk-shaped seeds in clusters, unlike most wetland forbs.

Great water-dock can be found in a variety of marsh types, and along ditches and lake shores.

Wildlife Use

The caterpillar of the Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus) an endangered butterfly, feeds on the leaves of Curly and Great Water Docks.  The relatively large seeds are readily eaten by ducks and other birds.  The uses by these and other species of wildlife make Great Water-dock a great plant to have in wetlands despite their weedy appearance.

Nature has many uses for Great Waterdock and Native Americans found several uses as well.  They used Great Water-dock medicinally to treat painful joints, and purify the blood.  Rumex orbiculatus

Great water-dock standing tall above Tussock Sedge and other plants of the sedge meadow.