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Rumex pulcher L.
Family Polygonaceae
Common name: Fiddle Dock

Rumex pulcher L. APNI*

Description: Perennial 20–60 cm high, stems erect, branched below middle.

Basal leaves with lamina ovate-oblong with acute apex and cordate base, sometimes fiddle-shaped, 6–20 cm long, 2–6 cm wide; petiole usually shorter than or occasionally as long as lamina; stem leaves smaller and sessile.

Flower whorls distant, each with a subtending leaf, each 8–20-flowered.

Fruiting valves thick, leathery, 4.5–6 mm long, 2.5–4.5 mm wide, margins variously toothed, often with 3–6 short teeth. Fruiting pedicels thick, about as long as valves, articulate eventually about midway.


Distribution and occurrence: Sporadically naturalised on the coast and along the Murray River in NSW. Widespread in SW and SE Australia. Native of Medit. & SW Asia.

Weed of agricultural and other disturbed open habitats.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *SWS, *SWP
Other Australian states: *Vic. *Tas. *S.A. *W.A.
AVH map***

Rechinger (1984: 95) suggested that two subspecies (the typical subspecies and subsp. divaricatus (L.) Murb. [now called subsp. woodsii (De Not.) Arcangeli]) were naturalised in Australia but noted that the distinctions between the two subspecies (angle of branching of the inflorescence, shape of valves and number and size of teeth) is less clearcut in Australia than in the Mediterranean region. The material that KLW has seen bears this out, and therefore no subspecies are recognised here. See also Weeds in Australia profile compiled by K.L. Wilson & P.G. Kodela (2007).

Text by K. L. Wilson (1990); edited KL Wilson (6 July 2007; May 2018)
Taxon concept: KL Wilson, Fl. NSW vol. 1 (1990) and Fl. Australia (submitted)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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