Stems: erect, ascending or spreading, simple or branched, grooved. Leaves: lanceolate, acute at both ends. Flowers: in dense clusters. Fruit: the faces of the achenes concave, smooth, shining, winged.
A large coarse plant growing several feet high, with a strongly grooved stem, huge long-shaped bluish-green leaves that are pointed at both ends, and panicles of green flowers set in loose whorls near the apex of the stalks. These flowers have no petals, but only a green six-parted calyx, the three outer divisions of which remain unchanged in fruit, while the three inner sepals develop into wings. The fruit is dark red.
Rumex Acetosa, or Common Sorrel, is a much smaller plant, and has arrow-shaped leaves, and green flowers tinged with red, which deepen in colour to a purple-red as the season advances. The leaves and juicy stems are slightly acid, and the root is very astringent, yielding an excellent red dye. This is an introduced plant.
Rumex Acetosella, or Field Sorrel, has a creeping root-stock, and halberd-shaped leaves which are pointed at the apex. The green flowers are tiny and grow in a loose raceme. This plant flourishes in the poorest soil, and towards the end of the summer turns a rich red colour. This is an introduced plant.