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Shore Dock

Rumex rupestris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Polygonaceae (Dock)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Beaches, cliffs, riversides, rocky places, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, waterside.

Green, no petals
Flowers appear in whorled clusters. Flowers have oblong sepals.
The flattened, roundish fruits are untoothed with 3 oblong warts.
A perennial plant greyish-green, way-edged leaves, 4 to 5cm in size.
Other Names:
Cliff Dock, Rock Dock.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Rumex rupestris, also known as the rock dock or cliff dock, is a perennial plant species in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). It is native to Europe and is commonly found in rocky or gravelly habitats such as cliffs, cliffsides, and talus slopes. The plant has large, oblong leaves and small green flowers that grow in clusters. The roots, leaves, and stems of R. rupestris have been used medicinally in some traditional systems to treat a variety of ailments, although there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses. The plant is also sometimes used as a food source, although it is not as well known or widely cultivated as some other species in the Rumex genus.


Shore Dock (Rumex rupestris) is a hardy and versatile plant species that is native to coastal areas of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is also known by other common names such as Rock Dock, Wall Dock and Mountain Dock.

The plant is a member of the Polygonaceae family, which includes other species like rhubarb and sorrel. Shore Dock is a perennial herb that grows to a height of 50-150 cm and produces green leaves that can reach up to 30 cm in length. The leaves are oblong, lanceolate and have a smooth texture. The plant also produces tiny green flowers that bloom in the summer and attract bees and other insects.

One of the most distinctive features of Shore Dock is its ability to grow in harsh, rocky environments that are typically inhospitable to other plants. It is often found along the rocky shores of the coast and on cliffs, hence the name "Wall Dock." This plant is able to grow in such environments due to its deep and extensive root system, which is able to find sustenance in the cracks and crevices of the rocks.

Despite its tough exterior, Shore Dock is a highly edible plant that has been used for food and medicinal purposes for centuries. The leaves, stems and roots of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked, and are said to have a slightly sour, tangy flavor. In some cultures, the leaves are used to make tea or added to soups and stews. The root of the plant can also be peeled and roasted to create a nutritious and tasty snack.

In addition to its edibility, Shore Dock has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-toxic properties, and has been used to treat various conditions including digestive problems, respiratory issues and skin conditions.

In modern times, Shore Dock is becoming increasingly popular as a natural remedy for various health problems. Its popularity is due in part to its versatility and ease of cultivation, as well as its wide range of health benefits. The plant is also prized for its hardiness and ability to grow in difficult environments, making it an ideal choice for those who want to create a sustainable and low-maintenance garden.

Shore Dock (Rumex rupestris) is a remarkable and versatile plant that is well worth considering for its many uses and benefits. Whether you're looking for a new food source, a natural remedy or simply a hardy and attractive addition to your garden, this plant is sure to impress.

Shore Dock is also known for its ornamental value, and can be an attractive addition to any garden or landscaping project. The green leaves of the plant provide a lush backdrop for other plants and flowers, and its tall stature can add height and dimension to any garden bed. The plant is also a great choice for creating a coastal-inspired garden, as it is native to coastal areas and can thrive in harsh, salty environments.

The plant is easy to care for and requires little maintenance. It can be grown in a variety of soils, but prefers well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. It is also drought-tolerant and can withstand prolonged periods of dry weather, making it an ideal choice for low-water gardens.

In terms of propagation, Shore Dock can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. The plant will often self-seed in its natural environment, but can also be easily grown from seed in a garden setting. Cuttings can be taken from the stem of the plant in the late spring or early summer, and can be rooted in water or planted directly into soil.

It is important to note that Shore Dock is considered an invasive species in some areas, and can be a problem for native plants and wildlife. If you live in an area where Shore Dock is considered invasive, it is best to avoid planting this species in your garden.

Shore Dock is a versatile and attractive plant that is well worth considering for its many benefits. Whether you're looking for a new food source, a natural remedy or simply a hardy and attractive addition to your garden, this plant is sure to impress.

In addition to its food and medicinal uses, Shore Dock has also been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. In some cultures, it is believed to have the ability to purify the blood and improve overall health. A tea made from the leaves of the plant is said to be a powerful tonic that can stimulate the liver, improve digestion and boost the immune system.

Shore Dock is also said to have a positive impact on skin health, and has been used to treat a range of skin conditions, including eczema, rashes and acne. A poultice made from the leaves of the plant is said to soothe and heal skin irritations, and its anti-inflammatory properties are said to reduce redness and swelling.

In addition to its health benefits, Shore Dock is also a valuable plant for wildlife. The plant provides a habitat and food source for a variety of birds and insects, and its nectar-rich flowers are a favorite of bees and other pollinators. This makes Shore Dock an important plant for maintaining the balance of ecosystems and supporting biodiversity.

As with any plant, it is important to use caution when harvesting Shore Dock for food or medicinal purposes. Some parts of the plant may be toxic if consumed in large quantities, and it is always best to seek the advice of a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider before using any plant for medicinal purposes.

In conclusion, Shore Dock is a remarkable and versatile plant that offers a wealth of benefits. From its use as a food source and natural remedy, to its ornamental value and impact on wildlife, this plant is a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. Whether you're a gardener, herbalist or simply interested in exploring the world of plants, Shore Dock is a plant that is well worth discovering.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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