sheep sorrel(redirected from sheeps sorrel)
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(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.