Curly dock

Rumex crispus L.

Life cycle

Erect, taprooted simple perennial.

curly dock seedhead
Curly dock mature seedhead.


Alternate, long and narrow with round to pointed tips and wavy margins. Leaves are shaped like bacon strips.

curly dock rosette curly dock seedling
Curly dock rosette (left). Curly dock seedling (right).


Forms a basal rosette that bolts prior to flowering, unbranched, reaching 3 to 4 feet in height. A membranous sheath (ocrea) surrounds the stem at the base of each petiole.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers are small, usually greenish and found in clusters on the upper stems, becoming reddish brown at maturity. The seed is enclosed in a single-seeded, shiny, reddish brown, three-sided fruit.

curly dock flower
Curly dock flower cluster.


Seeds and fleshy taproot.

Similar weeds

Broadleaf dock (R. obtusifolius L.) Differs by having much wider, broader leaves and usually heart-shaped leaf bases.

broadleaf dock rosette broadleaf dock leaf
Broadleaf dock rosette (left). Broadleaf dock leaf (right).

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