Down Garden Services


Sheep's Sorrel

Scientific Name: Rumex acetosella
Other names: Field Sorrel, Cuckoo’s Sorrel, Red Sorrel, Sour Dock, Sour Grass, Sour Weed
Family: Polygonaceae

This is a perennial with creeping roots. It grows as a rosette of arrow-shaped leaves with outward-facing lobes at the base. These distinguish it from Common Sorrel which has downward-facing lobes.
In May and June a flowering stem up to 60 cm high produces tiny green flowers which turn to red-orange (female flowers) or orange-yellow (male flowers) borne on separate plants; these are wind-pollinated.
It can be used in a similar manner to Common Sorrel for eating or as a herbal remedy.

Sheep's Sorrel forms a loose mat of roots which spread over a large area if allowed. Hand weeding is easy for a small infestation, but all of the fine, yellowish, rubbery roots need to be traced and removed. Any fragments remaining will soon regrow.
The regrowth is best treated with a systemic or translocated weedkiller such as Glyphosate to ensure more complete eradication. In the lawn it is killed by selective weedkillers - MCPA or 2,4-D - applied in late spring.

Nicholas Culpepper
(17th century astrologer-physician)
"Of great use against the scurvy if eaten in spring as salad."

picture of SHEEP'S SORREL

picture of SHEEP'S SORREL roots

Follow these links for further details on Weeds, Weed Removal and Weed Prevention.