Curly Dock

Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
A mature Curly dock plant can have flowering stalks reaching up to 4 feet.
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
A Curly dock rosette develops during its first year of growth.
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
The long narrow leaves have curly or wavy margins resembling cooked bacon.
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
In early spring, flower clusters appear as large, white, conical clusters.
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
Stems of curly dock, as well as other plants in this family, have noticeably jointed stems and the papery sheath covering, calle
Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
Rumex crispus
Family: 
Polygonaceae
Life cycle: 
Perennial
Habit: 
Curly dock is an herbaceous perennial with tall, erect stems growing up to 4 feet in height. Initially, plants form a prostrate rosette of foliage. Curly dock foliage is long and narrow, up to 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Mature rosettes are generally up to 18 inches in diameter. Later in the season, or in second year of growth, flowering stalks emerge.
Flowers: 
Flowers occur in panicles or axillary clusters. Flowers are apetalous, meaning without petals, and are composed entirely of greenish sepals. At maturity, these sepals turn brown and flower stalks remain into the winter months.
Favorable environments: 
Field
Favorable environment notes: 
Curly dock is commonly found in fields, meadows and pasture lands. It favors wet or poorly drained areas of undisturbed soils such as ditches and roadsides.
Dissemination: 
Curly dock reproduces mainly by seed. Tiny triangular seeds are reddish-brown and are enclosed in one of three smooth edged bracts or calyx. The smooth edge calyx is a distinguishing factor between Curly dock and Broadleaf dock.
Of interest: 
Curly dock can be distinguished from Broadleaf dock by its narrower leaves and wavy leaf margins and also by the shape of the calyx that surrounds the seed. Broadleaf dock has a calyx with what appears to be horns along the margin, while curly dock has a calyx with smooth margins. Another common characteristic of plants belonging to the Polygonaceae family is the ocrea. The ocrea is membranous sheath that occurs at each node along the stem. Mechanical control works best when applied at the seedling stage. Once the tap root is formed, curly dock is difficult to control with cultivation, hand hoeing, or hand weeding.