Rumex Obtusifolius

Botanical Name : Rumex obtusifolius – L.

Family : Polygonaceae

Introduction :

R. obtusifolius can be an invasive species on account of its prolific production of seeds, which can remain viable for a long time, its capability for vegetative reproduction, and adaptability to different environments. Mature plants are capable of withstanding unfavourable climatic conditions, such as severe cold and drought, thanks to the deep spreading root. It is primarily a weed of grassland, and in this habitat it benefits from agricultural practices which lead to disturbance or eutrophication. It reduces production from grassland and lowers the feeding value of the sward to animals.

Names in different Indian languages :

English : Bluntleaf dock, Round-Leaved Dock, Bitter dock, Broad-leaved dock, butter dock, cushy-cows, kettle dock, smair dock.

Synonyms :

Rumex obtusifolius var. obtusifolius L.

Rumex obtusifolius spp. agrestis (Fr.) Danser

Acetosa oblongifolia (L.) Á. Löve & D. Löve

Rumex obtusifolius spp. sylvestris (Wallr.) Rech. f.

Rumex obtusifolius var. sylvestris (Wallr.)

Rumex crispatulus Michaux; R. rugelii Meisner Koch.

Morphology :

Rumex obtusifolius is an erect perennial herb that grows up to 40-150cm tall. Plants usually consist of a basal rosette of leaves and a large, fleshy taproot. The leaves develop individually as tightly rolled leaf spikes. These spikes unfurl about a week after initiation, the leaves going on to expand to a maximum size of 40 cm long by 20 cm wide. Leaf area and stem length are very plastic in response to environmental cues, especially light. Developmental rates and overall plant size also vary a great deal between individuals grown in similar conditions. During flowering, a tall spike up to 150 cm in height is produced which bears the inflorescence. Following flowering, the plant undergoes defoliation. This can result in a complete loss of leaves for up to two months

Distribution & Habitat :

Waste ground, hedgerows and field margins. A common weed of cultivated land on acid or calcareous soils.

Uses :

The leaves are often applied externally as a rustic remedy in the treatment of blisters, burns and scalds. The root contains tannin and is astringent and blood purifier. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of jaundice, whooping cough, boils and bleeding. An infusion of the root has been used as a wash, especially for children, to treat skin eruptions. One report says that the root has been used as a contraceptive to stop menstruation. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use.

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