Appearance and General Info
Dock, Curly Dock
Dock leaves are simple with a heart-shaped base. The edges of the leaves tend to be either wavy or curly, and alternate along the stem. The flowers of the dock appear in branched clusters at the end of the upright stems. While the flowers are initially a yellowish-green color, they dry during the summer and early fall months, taking on a rusty, brownish red appearance and over winters as seeds with this signature look. A papery sheath surrounds the stem and the nodes, and the seeds are shiny and brown and clustered at the top of the plant.
Dock: Medicinal Uses:
All parts of the dock plant can be used for various treatments, though the roots are the most notable part of the plant for its use medicinally. The root can be used as a poultice and salve once mashed, and may also be applied once dry as a dusting powder on sores, ulcers, and wounds. The roots are also used medicinally as an astringent, tonic, and blood cleanser. Because of its cleansing properties, dock has been widely used to treat various skin problems including acne.
Dock: Edible Uses:
Dock leaves when they are young are delicious in salads, tasting like a lemony spinach. Once they mature, they accumulate oxalic acid and are not as palatable. When young and edible, the leaves are tart, and provide an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium. The seeds of the dock plant are also edible, and may be ground to produce flour for making sun breads and cereals. They are easy to spot in the fall because of their distinct reddish brown color and easy to harvest in quantity because they cluster at the top of the flower spike in abundance.