Yellow dock: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on yellow dock

Rumex crispus is a perennial flowering plant in the Polygonaceae family.

The mature yellow dock plant takes on a reddish brown color and it will produce a stalk that grows to a height of about 1 meter.

The plant's smooth leaves shoot off from a large basal rosette, and have distinctive waved or even curled edges.

On the stalk flowers and seeds are produced in clusters on branched stems. The plant's largest flower and seed cluster forms at the apex. Yellow dock has shiny, brown seeds encased in the calyx of the flower that has produced them. It is this casing that helps the seeds to spread to new locations since it enables the seeds to float on water and also to get caught in wool and animal fur.

Yellow dock produces a large, yellow, forking taproot.

common names & nomenclature
The leaves of yellow dock curl up at the edge which gives way to the common name urled dock.

Also known as:
curled dock, yellow dock root

Yellow Dock, the perennial taproot plant
Yellow dock: Where in the World
habitat and range for yellow dock

Rumex crispus is native to Europe and Western Asia. It is a naturalized species throughout the temperate world. In many areas it has become a serious invasive species, including throughout North America, southern South America, New Zealand and parts of Australia.

Yellow dock: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting yellow dock

The yellow dock plant will grow in a wide variety of habitats. It is readily found in areas where the soil has been disturbed such as: roadsides, fields/meadows, waste areas, shorelines, and forest edges in full to part sun.

Prefers rich, moist and heavy soils.

Grows easily by seed and can be sown directly in garden soil.

The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use.

Store dried yellow dock root, cut pieces and dried yellow dock root, powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Yellow dock: The Rest of the Story

Health Benefits
Although the leaf of the plant contains numerous vitamins and minerals, it also contains a high degree of oxalic acid, which lends a very bitter taste and poses a potential risk for toxicity, even when cooked. The yellow taproot, however, is harvested to make tinctures for internal use and infusions for topical use. It can used for nasal and respiratory tract pain and inflammation, and as a laxative and tonic. It can also be used to help treat various infections and arthritis.

How to use yellow dock root powder
Dried yellow dock root is typically used in tincture or extract recipes, while the powdered herb is used to produce topical preparations. Powdered yellow dock root can be applied to the skin as a wound powder, a paste or as a poultice. It can also be infused in witch hazel for use as a topical spray.

Do not use during pregnancy. Do not take in large does due to the herb’s oxalate content.