Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Broadleaf Dock: Rumex obtusifolius

bldock9-20.jpg (91854 bytes) Weed Description:  A taprooted perennial from a basal rosette,developing a single stem that may reach 3 1/3 feet in height.  Broadleaf dock is found throughout the eastern United States, the Midwest, and Arizona.

Seedling: Cotyledons are egg-shaped, with a 'mealy' cast on both surfaces. Petioles are as long as the blade.  First true leaf is spatula-shaped

Leaves:  Lower leaves are petioled, may be reddish-veined, flat with a heart-shaped base and very broad, up to 6 inches wide and 12 inches long.  Stem leaves have an ocrea and progressively become smaller up the flowering stalk.  Leaves become more reddish-purple with age.   All leaves are slightly wavy on edges. bldock4-29.jpg (215826 bytes)
Stems:  A singe flowering stem that is erect, reddish- brown, and ribbed.

Roots:  Large, fleshy tap-root, yellowish orange in color.

Flowers:  Arranged in clusters of racemes on the upper portion of the elongating stem, consisting of greenish sepals that become reddish-brown with age.

Fruit:   An achene, with 1-3 spines on the 3-winged triangular structure that surrounds the achene.

Identifying Characteristics:   The large, broad leaves that form a basal rosette and the single, erect flowering stalk are both characteristics that help in thee identification of broadleaf dock.  Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) is similar in appearance, but it's leaves are narrower and more wavy than those of broadleaf dock.