Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Rumex acetosella
common sheep sorrel

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Balds, prairies, meadows, pastures, fields, roadsides, wastelots, lawns and other disturbed open areas from the lowlands to middle elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Introduced from Eurasia

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Dioecious, glabrous perennial from widely spreading, slender rhizomes, the 1-several stems 2-3 dm. tall, unbranched below the inflorescence.


Leaves with sheathing stipules, petiolate, numerous, highly variable, the blades 2-4 cm. long, linear to ovate, usually with spreading, basal, triangular lobes.


Inflorescence an open, leafless, reddish, narrow panicle; flowers imperfect; pedicels slender, longer than the flowers, jointed immediately under the flower; perianth about 1 mm. long, erect, only slightly larger than the fruit and closely investing it; styles 3.


Achene smooth.

Accepted Name:
Rumex acetosella L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 338. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Acetosa acetosella (L.) Mill.
Acetosa hastata Moench
Acetosella vulgaris Fourreau
Rumex acetosella L. var. vulgaris W.D.J. Koch
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Rumex acetosella in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Rumex acetosella checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Rumex acetosella information.

E-Flora BC: Rumex acetosella atlas page.

CalPhotos: Rumex acetosella photos.

USDA Plants: Rumex acetosella information.

36 photographs:
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