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RUMEX scutatus

Image of Rumex scutatus

Jessie Keith

Family

Polygonaceae

Botanical Name

RUMEX scutatus

Plant Common Name

French Sorrel

General Description

Grown since the Middle Ages for its tangy leaves, this perennial herb is enjoying renewed popularity in gardens and kitchens. Native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, it was first brought into cultivation in Italy and France.

The oval to arrow-shaped, medium- to silvery-green leaves of this low-growing, mat-forming plant are held in dense rosettes. In summer it bears erect, loose clusters of tall inconspicuous greenish flowers. Tan, three-angled seeds follow the blooms.

This hardy perennial does best in sun and moist, well-drained soil. It will tolerate partial shade and poor soil. Some winter chill is necessary for good growth; plants fail in tropical conditions. Divide plants if they become crowded or spread too far. Harvest young outer leaves for salads and soups. Remove flower stalks to promote vigorous leaf growth. Some cultivars such as the silvery leaved 'Silver Shield' are suitable for ornamental gardens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Herb

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6"-24" / 15.2cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes