sheep sorrel

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Related to sheep sorrel: burdock root
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sheep sorrel

sheep sorrel

A great instant snack food. Leaves shaped like knife/sword/ arrowhead with tall flowering stalks that sometimes resemble red grass with small reddish-colored flowers stuck close to the stalk, that sometimes branches at the top. Male flowers are yellow-green, female are red (lipstick). It has a strong tart, sour-apple or lemony flavor, quite a fun plant to eat. The entire plant is edible. Contains lots of soluble oxalates, but shouldn't be a concern to someone eating a diverse healthy diet. A great addition to any type of salad. Used for inflammation, diarrhea, menstrual bleeding. Has multiple cancerpreventing compounds and anti-mutagenics making it a popular anticancer plant. It’s one of the ingredients in the famous Essiac tea remedy.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sheep Sorrel


(Rumex acetosella), a perennial herbaceous plant of the family Polygonaceae. The leaves are alternate. The lower leaves are petiolate and speary, and the upper ones are sessile and lanceolate. The small unisexual flowers are in panicles. (The plant is dioecious.) The fruit is a shiny three-angled nutlet.

Sheep sorrel is distributed in the temperate and subtropical zones of the northern hemisphere. It is almost ubiquitous in the USSR. A sucker-forming weed, the plant occurs mainly in plantings of thinned perennial herbs. It often forms thickets on fallow fields, wastelands, and dry meadows, as well as along roads and in dumps. Sheep sorrel serves as forage for sheep and pigs. When eaten in large quantity, however, it causes severe poisoning owing to the presence of a large quantity of calcium oxalate in all its parts. The plant is especially toxic during the period of seed maturation.


Vil’ner, A. M. Kormovye otravleniia, 5th ed. Leningrad, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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