Common Sorrel is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in woodland margins, grassland and meadows, to a mature height of up to 100cm.
The name 'Sorrel' denotes a sour-tasting plant, owing to the presence of oxalic acid. Common Sorrel is also known as 'Broad-Leaved Sorrel', owing to its large oval-shaped leaves. It is sometimes grown to provide 'baby leaves' for salads or to provide mature leaves for use as a cooked vegetable (please see footnote under 'Concerns').
Botanic classification and naming: Common Sorrel is a member of the Knotweed (Polygonaceae) family. The genus name
'Rumex' identifies the plant as a Dock and its species name 'acetosa' means 'acidic/ sour'.
Concerns: If grown for culinary purposes, Common Sorrel should not be eaten in large quantity, owing to the presence of oxalic acid, which can affect nutrient absorption and can be toxic in sufficient quantity. Those prone to rheumatism, arthritis, gout or kidney stones should completely avoid the plant, as the oxalic acid may affect their health. Common Sorrel can be toxic to pets.
Benefits: Provides food for caterpillars of the Forester moth and Small Copper butterfly.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.