This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
I. Sheep's Sorrel (Rumex Acetosella, L.). 2. Box (Buxus sempervirens, L.). 3. Musk Orchid (Herminium Monorchis, Br.). 4. Fragrant Orchis (Habenaria conopsea, Benth.). 5. Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina, L.).
The flowers are deciduous, in leafless panicles, drooping, branched. The male flowers exceed the female. The flower-stalks equal the sepals, which are without knob-like points on the midrib. They enclose the seeds, which are yellowish-brown. The 3 sepals are ascending.
Sheep's Sorrel is 18 in. in height. It flowers in May, June, and July. The plant is perennial, reproduced by division of the roots.
Like other Docks with a long stigma it is anemophilous, pollinated by the wind. The early flowers are proterogynous, the later ones homogamous. There are complete female flowers, or dioecious plants. Sheep's Sorrel is, however, usually dioecious, the male flowers being very small.
The fruits are winged and wind-dispersed.
This plant is essentially a sand-loving plant, growing on sand soil, such as Marlstone, Glacial sands, etc.
A cluster-cup fungus, Ustilago Kuhneana, forms a rust on the leaves.
This Dock is a food plant of several insects, e.g. a beetle, Apion humile, several Lepidoptera, Forrester Moth (Ino statices), Autumnal Rustic (Noctua glareosa), White-spotted Pinion (Gelechia diffinis), G. velocella, Nepticula acetosae, Light - feathered Rustic (Agrotis cinerea), and two Homoptera, Aphalara exilis, A. calthae.
Acetosella, Linnaeus, is from the Latin, acetus, acid, sharp.
The names in common use are Bread-and-cheese, Cuckoo's Meat, Cuckoo's Sorrel, Sour Docken, Lammie Sourocks, Sour Leek, Ranty Tanty, Sheep's Sorrel, Sheep's Sourack, Sooracks, Soorocks or Souracks.
Essential Specific Characters:271. Rumex Acetosella, L. - Stems many, leaves sagittate, tapered, plant dioecious, sepals ascending, little enlarged, ovate.