The Dooryard dock or northern dock (Rumex longifolius DC.) Is a herbaceous species belonging to the Polygonaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
R. longifolius species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Rumex distans Dumort.;
– Rumex domesticus Hartm.;
– Rumex strepens Schult. & Schult.f.;
– Rumex suzukianus Rech.f..
A variety is recognized within this species:
– Rumex longifolius var. nanus.
The term Rumex comes from rumex javelin, spear: due to the pointed shape of the leaves of many species of this genus. Already in Plautus and others with the meaning of romice.
The specific longifolius epithet comes from longus longus and folium leaf: with long leaves.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Rumex longifolius is a plant native to Europe, present from Scandinavia to the south and east to the Pyrenees, the Caucasus, western and central Asia. It is also widely naturalized in North America.
Its habitat is along rivers, in ditches and in humid grassy places, humid valleys, forest edges, mountain slopes, roadsides, cultivated fields, river valleys; at altitudes between 100 and 3,000 meters above sea level.
Rumex longifolius is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches a height between 60 and 120 cm.
It has large and wide leaves, the edges of which are wavy and wavy. The upper surface of the leaves is glabrous and the lower surface hairy next to the veins.
The leaves of the stem are alternate and are strictly ovate-lanceolate and have a rounded or tapered base. The leaf stems are approximately the same length as the leaf blade.
The stems are erect, hard and unbranched until just below the inflorescence. The junctions of the stems are covered with two fused stipules that form an ocrea, a thin paper-like sheath – a characteristic of the Polygonaceae family and, in this species, fringed on top.
The inflorescence consists of large clusters of racemes that contain small greenish flowers that are bisexual. The segments of the perianth are in two spirals of three. The segments in the outer spiral are small and extended while the inner spiral forms the valves of the fruit, which are rounded or kidney-shaped and have entire or wavy edges. Each flower has six stamens, a pistil consisting of three fused carpels and three styles.
Flowering is between July and September.
The fruit is a glossy brown walnut with a triangular cross section.
Rumex longifolius is a plant that is harvested in nature for local use as food and medicine.
In certain conditions it can become invasive and is difficult to eradicate due to the regeneration of the root system.
It is a plant that can grow in a wide range of soils but prefers deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus-rich, moisture-retaining and also well-drained ones, with a position in full sun or partial shade.
This species, like others of its genus, also due to anemophilic pollination, tends to hybridize easily with congenital species.
The plant propagates by seed, with sowing in the open field in spring.
It can also propagate by agamic way through divisions, always in the spring period.
Customs and Traditions –
The Dooryard dock has been used for some time for both food and medicinal purposes.
For edible use, the cooked leaves are consumed. These are also consumed as a vegetable for their antiscorbutic action.
You can also eat seeds that, especially in the past, were ground into powder and used in gruel or added to cereal flours to make bread, etc.
For medicinal use, the whole plant is used, but above all the root, which is alterative, astringent, cholagogue, de-blocking, stomachic and tonic.
Among other uses, although no specific mention has been made for this species, dark green to brown and dark gray dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species of the genus that do not require a mordant.
It should also be remembered that this plant contains quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves an acid-lemon flavor. Perfectly good in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large quantities as oxalic acid can block other nutrients in foods, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content is reduced, however, if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should be especially careful if they include this plant in their diet as it can aggravate their condition.
Preparation Method –
Rumex longifolius is a plant of which everything is used.
The cooked leaves are also eaten as a vegetable.
Even the seeds can be eaten both as they are and in the form of flour.
For medicinal use, the whole plant is used, but especially the root.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.