An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Rumex scutatus

Rumex scutatus

The French sorrel, shield-leaf sorrel or buckler-Leaved Sorrel (Rumex scutatus 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. scutatus species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Acetosa scutata (L.) Mill.;
– Lapathum alpestre (Jacq.) Scop.;
– Lapathum scutatum (L.) Lam.;
– Rumex acetosa alpestris (Jacq.) Á.Löve;
– Rumex acmophorus Gand.;
– Rumex aetnensis C.Presl;
– Rumex alpestris Jacq.;
– Rumex bellojocensis Gand.;
– Rumex glaucus Jacq.;
– Rumex hastifolius M.Bieb.;
– Rumex pubescens K.Koch;
– Rumex subvirescens Gand..
Within this species, the following subspecies are recognized:
– Rumex scutatus subsp. aetnensis (C. Presl) Cif. & Giacom.
– Rumex scutatus subsp. glaucescens (Guss.) Brullo, Scelsi & Spamp.
– Rumex scutatus subsp. hastifolius (M.Bieb.) Borodina;
– Rumex scutatus subsp. scutatus L., 1753;
– Rumex scutatus subsp. hortensis Lam. & DC.;
– Rumex scutatus subsp. scutatus L., 1753.

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 epithet scutatus comes from scutum scudo: equipped with a shield, usually referring to the shape of the leaves.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The French sorrel is a species native to the mountains of southern Europe and subsiberian areas and present in an area ranging from Europe to eastern Asia. Specifically, it is present from Spain to Germany, from the east to Greece and Ukraine; East Asia – Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Caucasus, Kazakhstan.
In Italy it is present in all regions with three subspecies.
Its habitat is that of calcareous scree, sometimes along the shores of streams, with an optimum from the mountain to the alpine belt, but sometimes even further down, at altitudes between 400-2600 meters above sea level.

Description –
Rumex scutatus is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach 60 cm in height.
The leaves are alternate, simple, with stipules welded to form a short membranous sheath that embraces the stem.
The flowers are hermaphroditic and pollinated by the wind, collected in a branchy panicle; they are pendulous, green in color flecked with red.
The flowering period is between the months of June-August.
The fruit is a diclesium with keeled lobes, cordate-suborbicular, membranous-translucent, without callosity at the base, of 5-6 x 4.5-5 mm. Elliptic-rhombic seeds, with acute apex, 2.4 x 2.8 x 1.2-1.4 mm, with a glossy brown-orange surface.

Cultivation –
Rumex scutatus is a plant that is harvested in nature for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
It is a very easy plant to grow, which grows in most soils but prefers well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Once established, it is a plant that tolerates drought well.
This plant is occasionally grown for its edible leaves.
In addition, there are some varieties that have been selected for their ornamental value.
Being pollinated by the wind, it is a species that easily hybridizes with plants of the same genus.
Propagation occurs by seed.
Sowing must be done directly in the open field or, for small crops, in seedbeds and transplanted in spring.
Germination is quick.
It can also propagate by agamic way, by division at any time of the vegetative season.
Larger divisions can be planted directly in their permanent locations.

Customs and Traditions –
Rumex scutatus is a plant that is used in both food and medicine.
In the food sector, both raw and cooked leaves are used. These have a delicious lemon flavor. Most people find them strong in flavor when used in quantity, but they are a delicious addition to salads and can also be used as herbs.
The leaves should be used sparingly due to the oxalic acid content.
In fact, they are great in small quantities, but 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 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.
For medicinal use the leaves are used which are: antiscorbutic, astringent, diuretic, laxative and refrigerants.
However, they are rarely used in medicinal use.
Additionally, 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 this plant that do not require a bite.

Preparation Method –
Rumex scutatus is a plant, as mentioned, which is used both in the medicinal and food fields. However, the main use is food and is mainly used in salads. The taste is slightly bitter or spicy, spiced with a hint of lemon; the spicy taste is due to oxalic acid.

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.
Photo source

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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