Rumex salicifolius
Narrow-Leaved Dock

Fruit Side


Note the presence of an obscure joint on the proximal portion of the pedicel. Note also the inner tepals are entire or wavy margined.

I have tentatively identified this specimen as Rumex salicifolius because of the ascending stems, well-developed cauline leaves, presence of leafy axillary shoots, short jointed pedicels (although joint often obscure), and entire tepals. The presence of three large, equal tubercles would indicate this is var. triangulivalvis.  However, the flowers of this specimen are unisexual, with both male and female flowers on the same plant.  This is at odds with Manual of Montana Vascular Plants which states the flowers are perfect.  I hope to investigate this further.

Salicifolius: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora and Manual of Montana Vascular Plants leading to this species. 

plants taprooted; NOT [plants strongly rhizomatous in sandy soil]

roots not with tubers

plants with prostrate or ascending stems; NOT [plants with erect stems]

stems branched at the base or below the inflorescence; NOT [stems unbranched below the inflorescence]

most cauline leaves with axillary shoots; NOT [axillary shoots absent or few]

cauline leaves well-developed; NOT [basal leaves numerous, cauline leaves reduced]

leaves linear to linear-lanceolate; NOT [leaves ovate to lanceolate]

leaves < 4 cm wide; NOT [leaves >= 5 cm wide]

pedicels jointed, although joint often obscure

flowers perfect; NOT [flowers unisexual, plants mostly dioecious] (Note the specimen illustrated here is monoecious, with both male and female unisexual flowers on the same plant!)

NOT [valves greatly enlarging in fruit, becoming bright pink]

mature tepals <= 10 mm long; NOT [mature tepals 8-17 mm long]

inner tepals in fruit with entire or wavy margins; NOT [inner tepals in fruit with marginal teeth or bristles]

fruit with 1-3 large tubercles; NOT [fruit without tubercles, or with only 1 small tubercle]


Rumex: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora and Manual of Montana Vascular Plants leading to this genus. 

plants often larger; NOT [plants diminutive, < 3 cm high]

basal leaf blades linear to elliptic or arrow-shaped, longer than wide; NOT [basal leaf blades reniform to nearly orbicular in outline, as wide as long]

at least some cauline leaves with stipules at the base; NOT [leaves without stipules]

plants without a whorl of bracts below flower clusters

tepals 6

inner 3 tepals becoming swollen, wing-like and often net-veined with achene at the base; NOT [achene enclosed by unswollen tepals]

stamens less than 9

stigmas tufted or fimbriate


Polygonaceae: Answers to key questions in Manual of Montana Vascular Plants  leading to this family. 

plants not parasitic on conifers

plants with green leaves

plants not with milky sap

middle and lower leaves alternate or all in a basal rosette; NOT [middle and lower leaves opposite or whorled]

stipules sheathing the stem above leaf attachment

leaves with entire, toothed, or wavy margins; NOT [leaves divided or deeply lobed (>half-way to midvein)]

inflorescence not in dense spikes

NOT [few to many flowers clustered in heads, each head subtended by a cup- or vase-shaped whorl(s) of bracts and appearing like a single flower]

NOT [flower with spine-tipped bracts or spine-tipped sepals]

petals and sepals undifferentiated, i.e. flowers with tepals

flowers with 4-10 stamens; NOT [flowers with >10 stamens]

NOT [fruit nearly orbicular, flattened with an apical notch]