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Clustered Dock

Rumex conglomeratus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Polygonaceae (Dock)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Ditches, fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, riverbanks, roadsides, seaside, wasteland, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Green, 6 petals
Clustered Dock produces small, greenish flowers arranged in dense clusters on tall spikes. The flowering spikes emerge from the leaf axils and can reach a significant height. The individual flowers are relatively inconspicuous, with greenish or reddish tints. The flowering season typically occurs from late spring to early summer, contributing to the overall appearance of the plant. While the flowers may not be showy, they play a crucial role in the reproductive cycle of the plant, producing seeds with a distinctive winged structure that aids in dispersal by the wind.
The fruit of Clustered Dock is a small, brown or reddish-brown seed enclosed within a winged membrane. The winged structure is a characteristic feature that facilitates seed dispersal by the wind. As the plant matures, these seeds develop on the flowering spikes. When the seeds are fully formed, they can be released from the plant, and the winged structure helps them to be carried over short distances by the wind, aiding in the plant's reproductive strategy. The seeds are an integral part of the plant's life cycle, contributing to its ability to colonize and spread in various habitats.
The oblong leaves are cabbage-like and between 4 and 8cm wide. They are rounded at the base. This plant is similar looking to Wood Dock (Rumex sanguineus) but Clustered Dock has got zigzag stems and the branches are more spreading. A very common flower throughout the British Isles except in the north of Scotland. Clustered Dock is a perennial.
Clustered Dock is not typically known for having a distinctive fragrance. In general, dock plants, including Clustered Dock, are not cultivated for their scent, as their primary features of interest are often related to their appearance, growth habits, and ecological roles rather than olfactory characteristics. If present, any scent from Clustered Dock is likely to be subtle and not a prominent feature of the plant. It's important to note that fragrance can be subjective, and individual perceptions may vary.
Other Names:
Cluster Dock, Cluster-leaved Dock, Green Dock, Rambling Dock, Sharp Dock.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Rumex conglomeratus, also known as cluster dock or cluster-leaved dock, is a species of flowering plant in the buckwheat family. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world and is now widely distributed. The plant has a long, creeping root system and produces clusters of small, greenish flowers. The leaves are large and oval-shaped, with wavy or jagged edges. The plant is commonly found in moist or wet soil, such as along streams or in wetlands. It is sometimes considered an invasive species due to its ability to outcompete native plants.


Clustered Dock, Rumex conglomeratus, is a species of flowering plant that belongs to the Polygonaceae family. It is commonly found in moist areas, along the banks of rivers, in marshes, and in damp meadows throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. This hardy perennial plant is highly valued for its medicinal properties and its ability to thrive in harsh environments.

The Clustered Dock plant grows up to 2 meters tall and has large, broad leaves that are typically a bright green color. In the summer, it produces clusters of small green flowers that eventually turn into clusters of tiny reddish-brown seeds. The leaves, stems, and roots of the plant are all edible, although the leaves and stems can be slightly bitter and astringent when raw.

One of the most important uses of Clustered Dock is in traditional medicine. The plant is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems. In fact, it is one of the most commonly used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as "Jue Ming Zi."

In addition to its medicinal properties, Clustered Dock is also a valuable food source for wildlife. The plant's seeds are a popular food source for birds and other small mammals, while its leaves are often eaten by deer and other herbivores.

Despite its many benefits, Clustered Dock can also be a nuisance to farmers and gardeners. The plant's large size and deep roots make it difficult to remove, and it can quickly take over an area if not properly controlled. In some cases, it may even outcompete native plant species, leading to a loss of biodiversity.

If you're interested in growing Clustered Dock, it is relatively easy to cultivate in a variety of soils, as long as the soil is moist and well-drained. The plant is also hardy and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, making it a great choice for gardeners in many different climates.

Clustered Dock, Rumex conglomeratus, is a highly versatile and valuable plant that has many uses, both medicinal and culinary. Whether you're looking to add some green to your landscape, treat a health condition, or provide food for wildlife, Clustered Dock is definitely worth considering.

In terms of traditional medicine, the leaves and roots of Clustered Dock are often dried and then made into teas, tinctures, or extracts. The tea is used to help with digestive issues, such as indigestion and constipation, while the tincture is used to treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. The extract is used to help with respiratory problems, such as bronchitis and asthma.

Clustered Dock also has a number of other potential health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and boosting the immune system. In addition, the plant is a good source of fiber, which can help regulate the digestive system and promote overall health.

When it comes to cooking with Clustered Dock, the leaves and stems can be used as a flavorful green in a variety of dishes. They can be sautéed, boiled, or added to soups and stews. The leaves can also be used in place of spinach or other leafy greens in recipes. The roots can be peeled, chopped, and then boiled or roasted, and are often used in traditional dishes in Asia.

It's worth noting that, although Clustered Dock is generally considered safe for most people, some individuals may experience side effects when consuming it in large quantities. These side effects can include digestive upset, skin irritation, or allergic reactions. It's always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new herbal remedy, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Overall, Clustered Dock is a valuable plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine. Its versatility and hardiness make it a great choice for gardeners and herbalists alike, while its medicinal properties and potential health benefits make it a useful tool for promoting wellness and fighting disease.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Clustered Dock has also been used for a variety of other purposes throughout history. For example, the plant's leaves and stems have been used for making baskets and for thatching roofs, while the roots have been used for making dye.

Clustered Dock is also known for its ability to clean up contaminated soil. The plant is capable of removing pollutants, such as heavy metals, from the soil and breaking them down into a form that is less harmful to the environment. This property has led to the use of Clustered Dock in phytoremediation projects, which are aimed at cleaning up contaminated sites.

Another interesting fact about Clustered Dock is that it is one of the oldest known plants used for medicinal purposes. The use of Clustered Dock for medicinal purposes dates back at least 2,000 years, to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. During this time, the plant was used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems, much like it is used today.

Finally, it's important to note that Clustered Dock is a great plant for supporting pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. The plant's clusters of small green flowers provide a valuable source of nectar and pollen for these important insects, making it a valuable addition to any pollinator-friendly garden.

Clustered Dock, Rumex conglomeratus, is a highly versatile and valuable plant that has a long history of use for a variety of purposes. Its medicinal properties, potential health benefits, and ability to clean up contaminated soil make it a useful tool for promoting wellness and preserving the environment. Its versatility and hardiness also make it a great choice for gardeners, while its role in supporting pollinators makes it an important part of a healthy ecosystem.

It's worth noting that Clustered Dock is often confused with other species of Rumex, such as Curled Dock or Broad-leaved Dock, but they are different species and have different properties. It's important to identify Clustered Dock correctly before using it for medicinal or culinary purposes.

When harvesting Clustered Dock, it's best to gather the leaves and stems in the spring or fall, when the plant is in its active growth phase. The roots can be harvested in the late fall or early winter, when the plant is dormant. It's important to avoid harvesting the plant from contaminated areas, such as roadsides or sites with heavy pesticide use.

When preparing Clustered Dock for use, it's important to clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. The leaves and stems can be chopped or torn into smaller pieces, while the roots should be peeled and chopped. The plant can then be used fresh or dried for later use.

Clustered Dock is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of conditions, from full sun to partial shade. It is particularly well-suited to moist, well-drained soils and can tolerate both drought and flooding. The plant is easily propagated from seed and can also be divided in the spring or fall.

Finally, it's important to consider the invasiveness of Clustered Dock when planting it in the garden. Although the plant is a valuable addition to a pollinator-friendly garden, it can also spread rapidly and become invasive in some areas. It's important to keep this in mind and to take appropriate measures, such as planting it in containers or monitoring its growth, to prevent it from spreading too quickly.

In conclusion, Clustered Dock is a valuable and versatile plant with a long history of use for medicinal and culinary purposes. Its hardiness and adaptability make it a great choice for the garden, while its role in supporting pollinators and cleaning up contaminated soil make it an important part of a healthy ecosystem. However, it's important to identify it correctly, to harvest it responsibly, and to consider its invasiveness when planting it in the garden.

30 Facts About the Clustered Dock

Here are 30 interesting facts about Clustered Dock (Rumex conglomeratus):

  1. Botanical Classification: Clustered Dock is scientifically known as Rumex conglomeratus.
  2. Common Names: It is also known by various common names such as Clustered Dock, Clustered Dock Sorrel, and Sharp Dock.
  3. Family: It belongs to the Polygonaceae family, which includes a variety of flowering plants.
  4. Distribution: Clustered Dock is native to Europe and Western Asia but has been introduced to other parts of the world.
  5. Habitat: It thrives in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and disturbed areas.
  6. Appearance: The plant typically grows up to one meter in height and has distinctive lance-shaped leaves.
  7. Flowers: Clustered Dock produces small greenish flowers arranged in dense clusters on tall spikes.
  8. Blooming Season: The flowering season typically occurs from late spring to early summer.
  9. Edibility: Some people consume young leaves of Clustered Dock in salads, although it can be somewhat bitter.
  10. Medicinal Use: In traditional medicine, certain parts of the plant are believed to have mild medicinal properties.
  11. Culinary Uses: The leaves are sometimes cooked and used as a green vegetable, especially in certain European cuisines.
  12. Perennial Nature: Clustered Dock is a perennial plant, meaning it can live for more than two years.
  13. Invasive Potential: In some regions, Clustered Dock is considered invasive and can rapidly colonize disturbed areas.
  14. Adaptability: It is known for its adaptability to different soil types, including those with poor fertility.
  15. Ecological Role: The plant plays a role in soil stabilization and erosion control due to its robust root system.
  16. Seed Characteristics: Clustered Dock produces seeds with a distinctive winged structure, aiding in dispersal by wind.
  17. Allelopathic Properties: The plant has allelopathic effects, meaning it releases chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby competing plants.
  18. Wildlife Habitat: The flowers attract pollinators like bees, contributing to local biodiversity.
  19. Historical Significance: Dock plants, including Clustered Dock, have a history of use in traditional herbal medicine dating back centuries.
  20. Ethnobotanical Uses: Various cultures have used parts of the plant for treating skin conditions, digestive issues, and more.
  21. Phototoxicity: Some species within the Rumex genus can cause skin irritation upon contact, especially when exposed to sunlight.
  22. Decomposition Role: When the plant dies, it contributes organic matter to the soil, aiding in nutrient cycling.
  23. Germination Requirements: Seeds of Clustered Dock often require exposure to cold temperatures for successful germination.
  24. Seed Longevity: The seeds can remain viable in the soil for several years, contributing to the plant's persistence.
  25. Herbicide Resistance: In some regions, Clustered Dock has developed resistance to certain herbicides.
  26. Folklore: In folklore, dock leaves, including Clustered Dock, are sometimes associated with treating nettle stings.
  27. Genetic Diversity: Different populations of Clustered Dock may exhibit genetic diversity based on their geographical locations.
  28. Drought Tolerance: The plant demonstrates a degree of tolerance to drought conditions.
  29. Symbiotic Relationships: It may form associations with certain fungi in the soil, contributing to nutrient uptake.
  30. Conservation: While considered weedy in some contexts, the adaptability of Clustered Dock can contribute to its survival in changing environments.

Please note that while some aspects of Clustered Dock are known for their traditional uses, caution should be exercised, and consulting with experts is advisable before using any plant for culinary or medicinal purposes.


Clustered Dock filmed along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Lancashire on the 5th July 2023.


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