Broad-leaved dock ( Rumex obtusifolius) Curled dock ( R.crispus) Wood dock (R.sanguineus) Clustered dock (R.conglomeratus)
There are many species of dock but one often thinks of the broad-leaved when referring to it. The curled dock is the most commonly used for medicine today and the wood dock is the only species preferring the shade although will still grow in the open.
Most of us have grown up with the idea of docks growing with nettles and it is indeed true that both these plants can grow together and often where humans tread. Both plants crop up in cultivated soils and especially in the case of dock on soil which has been compacted by feet or machinery. Dock of course is known as the cure for the nettle sting and this extends to any burn, scald or blister as the juice of this plant has healing properties. Ironstone quarry workers are said to have rubbed freshly cut dock on their forearm sores.
Naturalists who have a love of the common species have been heard to dismiss this plant in a derogatory fashion but history has not done so. It is one of the four most commonly used herbs; elder, nettle and dandelion being the others.
Its root is rich in iron and can be used to purify the blood and as a laxative.
The bitter leaves are edible and traditionally used to wrap butter in.
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Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.