Canaigre (Dock; Wild Rhubarb; Sorrel)
Family: Polygonaceae – Buckwheat Family
Perennial herbs from tuberous roots; 8” to 3.3' (2 to 10 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; 3.2” to 10” (8 to 25 cm) long, 0.8” to 4.8” (2 to 12 cm) wide
Flowers: 0 petals; 6 petaloid or sepaloid sepals, rarely 4 (the 3 inner segments form papery wings surrounding the fruit); stamens usually 6; 1 pistil; small flowers in clusters usually greenish to pinkish; flower cluster 4” to 16” (10 to 40 cm) long
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub communities
Location seen: widespread along park road, across from Park Avenue parking lot, Fiery Furnace parking lot
Other: The genus name, “Rumex”, is the ancient Latin name for docks and sorrel plants. The species name, “hymenosepalus”, means “membranous sepals” and refers to the 3 inner segments that become papery when the plant is in fruit.
This family's scientific name, “Polygonaceae”, is derived from the Greek words “poly” which means "many" and “goni” which means "joint", a reference to many species that have swollen nodes or joints.
Did You Know?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.