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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

16 February, 2016

Wood Dock: not bloody likely

You can find wood dock (Rumex sanguineus) just about anywhere there it is shade from trees. This is, of course, mainly in woodland habitats but it freely occurs along hedgerows where trees create shade. It is the only dock one is likely to find in these conditions. It has a preference for heavy, damp soils.
It is a much more delicate plant than the other common dock species which tend to be sturdy, significant plants. Wood dock grows to about about two feet tall and the leaves tend to be only on the lower levels of the stems. The flower spikes occur ion June and July but because they are red in colour similar to the reddish brown seed heads it can give the impression of flowering longer.
Sanguineus means "resembling or containing blood" which is a bit odd as I have never noticed anything of the sort in plants I have seen. There is a garden variety called the blood-vein dock which has red veins in the leaves which has the latin name  Rumex sanguineus var sanguineus.
Wood Dock: not bloody likely