Rumex fueginus (Golden Dock)

Plant Info
Also known as: Seaside Dock, Tierra del Fuego Dock
Genus:Rumex
Family:Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; moist to wet; shores, floodplains, wet meadows, marshes, ditches, disturbed soil
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:6 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 3-petals Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: spike Cluster type: whorled

[photo of flower clusters] Long, cylindric, spike-like clusters at the tips of branching stems, made up of numerous whorls of 15 to 30 slender-stalked flowers. The whorls are typically crowded in the upper part of the cluster and may be more widely spaced (interrupted) in the lower. Flowers are less than 1/8 inch long, green to yellowish, 3-sided with 2 series of tepals (petals and similar sepals).

[photo of flowers with developing fruit] The 3 inner tepals are larger than the outer, narrowly triangular to diamond-shaped with a few long, straight, bristle-like teeth along the outer edge. At the base of each inner tepal is a projection called a grain, lance-linear, about half as wide and more than half as long as the tepal, pitted on the surface, and the grains of all 3 tepals typically about the same size and shape, rarely unequal. Tepals are slightly spreading but close up after pollination. Flower stalks are very slender and may be minutely hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are all alternate, lance-oblong to lance-linear, 2 to 10 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem, blunt to pointed at the tip, tapered to straight to heart-shaped at the base, and short-stalked. Edges are toothless and slightly wavy or crinkly, the upper surface hairless, the lower short-hairy especially along the midrib. At the base of the stalk is a papery sheath (ocrea) that wraps around the stem. Stems are erect to ascending to sprawling, short-hairy though may be smooth on the lower stem, and usually many-branched.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] A flower produces a single seed, wrapped in the persistent tepals which form a capsule-like structure and mature from green to yellowish, drying to rusty brown. Seeds are 3-sided, egg-shaped with a pointed tip, light brown, and less than 1.5 mm long.

Notes:

Golden Dock, formerly Rumex maritimus var. fueginus, is probably the easiest to identify of all the Rumex species in Minnesota. The relatively low-growing, somewhat sprawling and many-branched growth habit along with the dense, cylindric clusters and bristly tepals are a unique combination.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Sherburne County, in Laq Qui Parle County, and in North Dakota.

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