Curled Dock, Curled Duck, Dock, Yellow Dock
– Buckwheat family (also known as the knotweed or smartweed
Up to 3 ft high
Smooth leaves jutting out from a basal
rosette. The common name curly dock comes from leaves which have
curled or wavy margins.
Leaf stems are green to red tinted.
Large yellow forking taproot.
flower stalk about 1 meter high. The flower stem is branched
and bears multiple flower clusters.
The shiny brown seeds are encased in the
calyx of the flower. This casing causes the seeds to float.
An invasive species that has taken over many
areas of North America.
Moist, rich, heavy soils of roadsides,
meadows, fields, disturbed or waste areas, shorelines, and forest
Young leaves, seeds, roots
Wild Food Uses:
The high amounts of oxalic acid gives the
young leaves a pleasant sour flavor. I love to eat them raw, as
well as add them to salads. The plant is very high in vitamins A
& C, protein, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, and potassium. As the plant matures, the leaves
become much too bitter to be palatable. The young leaves can also
be used as a potherb. The seeds can be gathered and used as you
would other members of the buckwheat family. It can be boiled
and eaten as a porridge of sorts. It can also be ground and used
as a buckwheat flour.
I have heard anecdotal evidence that
because of certain compounds, eating too many leaves can
increase ones risk of kidney stones. Some people have also been
known to have slight gastric upset from eating this plant. As
with all wild foods, if you eat them in moderation you should be
able to forestall any undesirable effects.
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
The roots are highly prized in natural
medicine. The root is very high in iron, and is therefore quite
useful in the treatment of anemia. the root can be dried and
powdered for future use. This powder can then be placed in
capsules, and taken to combat anemia. The plant has also been
shown to be very useful for treating respiratory conditions.