PALE DOCK
File Size: 59 KB
 
Rumex altissimus  Alph. Wood
Ottawa County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-5 feet
Family: Polygonaceae - Buckwheat Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Also Called: Tall dock, smooth dock.
Stems: Erect, stout, ribbed, branched below inflorescence or unbranched.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, flat, not crisped; basal leaves long-stalked, lanceolate to narrowly-elliptic, 4 to 10 inches long, 1-2 inches wide, glabrous, bright green to pale green; midvein prominent; margins entire to irregularly scalloped; tips pointed; stem leaves smaller, numerous.
Inflorescences: Panicle of whorled racemes, 2.5 to 12 inches long, loose, terminal; branches few, ascending.
Flowers: Stalk 1/8 to 1/5 inch long; perianth segments 6, in 2 whorls of 3, united basally; outer 3 segments small, not turned downward in fruit; inner whorl enlarging, segments egg-shaped to elliptic at flowering, later heart-shaped, called "valves"; valves greenish to reddish-brown, 1/6 to 1/4 inch long and wide; tip blunt; margin entire; 1 or more valves with small tubercle (wart-like swelling) more than 1/2 length of valve; stamens 6.
Fruits: Achene, 1/12 to 1/8 inch long, 3-angled, dark brown, enveloped by valves; seed 1, small.
Habitat: Open wet places, waste ground, ditches, roadsides, low areas in fields; moist soil.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Origin: Native
Reproduction: Reproduces by seed.
Toxicity: Contains oxalates, but poisoning has not been reported.
Uses: The Lakota used the plant to treat diarrhea and stomach cramps and the Dakota created a poultice from the green leaves which they applied to boils. Wildlife eat the seeds. Nesting site for some songbirds.
Comments: Pale dock is not a serious or aggressive weed. It can be removed from fields through intensive cultivation. The pollen can cause allergy symptoms.
 See curly dock or wild begonia.

Pale dock inflorescence
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Pale dock leaves
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Pale dock anthers
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Pale dock valves
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Pale dock flowers
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Pale dock leaf
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Pale dock stem
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Ottawa County, Kansas