Should be rabbit’s not sheep’s

18th April 2013

Yesterday we looked at Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa, today it’s the turn of its little brother Sheep’s Sorrel R. acetosella.

Sheep’s Sorrel Rumex acetosella
A much smaller plant than Common Sorrel, lower growing and more spreading so it is not unusual to find quite a covering of it in some areas.  The leaves as well as being smaller are slightly paler and the lobes at the base instead of pointing backwards stick out horizontally to the side making it quite distinctive.  Like it’s bigger relative, and indeed other Docks, it puts up a flower spike in the summer and also take on a crimson colouration.

It tends to be found in drier conditions and is particularly common on sandy soil. It also seems to thrive in areas the are heavily mowed or grazed, and the areas that I come across it most often is on sandy areas near rabbit warrens where it can be very abundant.

Although it is fiddlier to collect because of it’s small size, the fact that you can find considerable amounts of it more than compensates for this.

It can be used in exactly the same way as the Common Sorrel we looked at yesterday, with the same sharp taste caused by oxalic acid and calcium oxalate.

Kev Palmer


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