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Rumex acetosella - L.                
                 
Common Name Sheeps Sorrel
Family Polygonaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats Heaths and acid grasslands[17]. A weed of acid soils[17, 55].
Range Cetral and southeastern Europe, including Britain, as far north as Scandanavia and Iceland.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Rumex acetosella is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Rumex acetosella Sheeps Sorrel


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rumex_acetosella_Sturm58.jpg
Rumex acetosella Sheeps Sorrel
http://www.commanster.eu/commanster.html
   
Habitats       
 Meadow;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Drink.

Leaves - raw or cooked[4, 12, 55, 62, 183]. A delicious lemon-like flavour, most people consider them too strong to use in quantity, but they are excellent as a flavouring in mixed salads[K]. The leaves should only be used in small quantities due to the oxalic acid content. The leaves can be used as thickeners in soups etc[102], they can also be dried for later use[12]. Root - cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and made into noodles[105]. Seed - raw or cooked[172]. Easy to harvest, but the seed is rather small and fiddly to use[K]. A drink similar to lemonade (but without the fizz) is made by boiling up the leaves[102].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Diuretic;  Poultice.

Sheep's sorrel is a detoxifying herb, the fresh juice of the leaves having a pronounced diuretic effect[254]. Like other members of the genus, it is mildly laxative and holds out potential as a long term treatment for chronic disease, in particular that of the gastro-intestinal tract[254]. The plant is also part of a North American formula called essiac which is a popular treatment for cancer. Its effectiveness has never been reliably proven or disproven since controlled studies have not been carried out. The other herbs included in the formula are Arctium lappa, Ulmus rubra and Rheum palmatum[254]. The whole plant, used in the fresh state, is diaphoretic, diuretic and refrigerant[222]. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, inflammation and scurvy[222]. The leaf juice is useful in the treatment of urinary and kidney diseases[4]. A leaf poultice is applied to tumours, cysts etc, and is a folk treatment for cancer[222]. A tea made from the roots is astringent and is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and excessive menstrual bleeding[222].
Other Uses
Dye.

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots, they do not need a mordant[168].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most soils[37], preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Although a plant of acid soils, it can tolerate some alkalinity[17]. A good food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies[24, 30], it grows well in the summer meadow[24]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow autumn or spring in situ. Division in spring.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[12]Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder.
A handy pocket guide.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[24]Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden.
Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.
[30]Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe.
An excellent book on Lepidoptera, it also lists their favourite food plants.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[55]Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[62]Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Very readable.
[102]Kavasch. B. Native Harvests.
Another guide to the wild foods of America.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[172]Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Ireland Mon Jun 28 15:46:06 2004

Link: look for "the essiac formula" Rene Caisse a cure for cancerwww.theoriginalessiac.com

Elizabeth H.
pens@sover.net Wed Oct 18 2006
where can one buy seeds to grow this rumex acetosella plant???? my e mail address is pens@sover.net or in winter months pens39@prodigy.net.mx
Elizabeth H.
Ajna Fern Mon Oct 23 2006
The following seed companies have previously supplied this plant, not sure if they will have them in the new catalogue B & T world seeds http://www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com/homepage.htm CN seeds http://www.cnseeds.co.uk/ J L hudson http://www.jlhudsonseeds.com/ Jelitto https://www.jelitto.com/haupt_en.html
Elizabeth H.
Mon Jul 9 2007
i just walked out one day and my uncle tols me to try a sheep sorrel. So i took a leaf and i tried and the taste is amazing
Elizabeth H.
first usa Thu Aug 14 2008
Very Nice Site! Thanx! http://excellent-credit-card.blogspot.com

first usa http://excellent-credit-card.blogspot.com

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