An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Rumex sanguineus

Rumex sanguineus

The wood dock, bloody dock or red-veined dock (Rumex sanguineus L.) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Polygonaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Spermatophyta Division,
Magnoliophyta class,
Polygonales Order,
Polygonaceae family,
Genus Rumex,
R. sanguineus species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Acetosa sanguinea (L.) M.Gómez;
– Lapathon sylvaticum Raf.;
– Lapathum nemorosum Fourr.;
– Lapathum sanguineum (L.) Lam.;
– Lapathum sanguineum (L.) Moench;
– Lapathum sanguineum Garsault;
– Lapathum viride Gray;
– Rumex acutus Curtis;
– Rumex auratus Sm.;
– Rumex aureus A.Höpfner;
– Rumex condylodes M.Bieb.;
– Rumex condylodes f. sanguinalis Moss;
– Rumex glomeratus Ten.;
– Rumex integer Gand.;
– Rumex microdon Gand.;
– Rumex muricatus Dumort.;
– Rumex nemolapathum Wallr.;
– Rumex nemorosus Schrad.;
– Rumex nemorosus Schrad. ex Willd.;
– Rumex nemorosus subsp. sanguineus (Linnaeus) Bonnier & Layens;
– Rumex oravicensis Wierzb.;
– Rumex oravicensis Wierzb. ex Nyman;
– Rumex sanguineus subsp. viridis (Sm.) R.Knapp;
– Rumex sanguineus var. sanguinalis (Moss) P.D.Sell;
– Rumex sanguineus var. viridis Sibth.;
– Rumex verticillatus Ucria;
– Rumex viridis (Sibth.) Druce;
– Rumex viridis Sibthorp;
– Rumex viridis Steud.;
– Vibones auratus (Sm.) Raf..
Within this species, the following varieties are recognized:
– Rumex sanguineus var. sanguineus;
– Rumex sanguineus var. viridis (Sibth.) Koch.

Etymology –
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 sanguineus epithet comes from sanguine, from sanguis sanguine: due to the reddish rhizome.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Rumex sanguineus is a European-Caucasian plant commonly found in most of Europe, from Spain to Great Britain and southern Scandanavia, from east to southern Russia, Ukraine and Greece; Western Asia – Turkey, Caucasus and Iran.
In Italy it is present in all regions of Italy except in Emilia-Romagna and Trentino-Alto Adige.
Its habitat is that of the humid deciduous broad-leaved woods of the sub-Mediterranean belt, rarely also in the beech, cerrete and cork forests, sometimes at the edge of the ponds in shady environments, on non-acid soils, from sea level to about 1200 m.

Description –
The wood dock is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach a height of about 40 – 100 cm and with leaves located only at the base of the plant; these are deciduous to partially persistent at maturity. The lamina of the leaf is lance-shaped with a more or less pointed base at the end and measures on average 10–30 × 2.5–6 cm.
The flower is terminal and occupies the upper 2/3 of the stem. The inflorescence is weak, interrupted, largely paniculated. The pedicel is 1/3 proximal and rarely in the center. In general, it is larger than the internal tepals with a markedly swollen joint. During flowering there are normally ten to twenty flowers in each well-spaced spiral.
Flowering is from June to August.
The fruit is a diclesium with a valve of 1-2 x 3-4 mm, generally only one with a tubercle, large and prominent of 0.8-1.2 mm. Achene 1-2 mm, dark reddish-brown in color.

Cultivation –
Rumex sanguineus is a plant that is harvested in nature for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
It is a very easy to grow plant that grows in most soils and prefers moderately fertile well-drained moist soil in a sunny location.
The plants usually self-sow freely and it is cultivated in some cases in vegetable gardens for its ornamental and edible leaves.
This plant, being pollinated by the wind, easily hybridizes with other plants of the same genus.
Propagation is by seed with sowing directly in the open field in spring.
It can also be propagated by division in the spring.

Customs and Traditions –
Rumex sanguineus is a plant that, especially in the past, was used for both food and medicinal purposes.
Under certain conditions it behaves like a weed that can be found on less cultivable fields and on the periphery surrounding arable fields.
In edible use, both raw and cooked young leaves are used and are used to replace spinach.
They have a fairly mild flavor when young and can also be added in moderation to mixed salads.
The leaves, however, quickly become bitter with age.
In medicinal use, the root is used which is astringent. From this we prepare infusions which are useful in the treatment of bleeding.
From the leaves a decoction is prepared which is used in the treatment of various skin diseases.
Furthermore, from the roots of this plant it is possible to obtain dyes from dark green to brown and dark gray that do not require a mordant.
This plant contains high amounts of oxalic acid so it should not be consumed in large quantities. It also contains significant amounts of vitamin C and carotene.
due to the particular composition, the leaves can be eaten in moderate quantities without exceeding as oxalic acid can block other nutrients in food, in particular calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content is reduced 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 sanguineus is a plant that uses both the root and the leaves.
The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use.
The leaves must be collected especially in spring, when they are tender and less bitter, and to allow the plant to reject new leaves, the inflorescences are removed to allow the vegetation to continue.

Guido Bissanti

– 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.
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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.

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