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Rumex spinosus L.
Family Polygonaceae
Rumex spinosus L. APNI*

Synonyms: Emex spinosa (L.) Campd. APNI*

Description: Prostrate to ascending herb with stems to 80 cm long, and to 60 cm high, glabrous.

Leaves with lamina ovate to ± deltate, 5–12(-17) cm long, 20–70(-110) mm wide, apex acute to broad-acute, base truncate to cordate, margins ± finely crenate; petiole 4–29 cm long.

Male flowers with perianth segments narrow-oblong, 1.5–2 mm long, c. 0.5 mm wide. Female flowers with outer 3 perianth segments with c. 6 small, deep pits in 2 columns above the near-basal rim, with a very sharp, rigid, laterally spreading spine 1.5–2 mm long at apex (spines shorter on flowers at base of plant); inner 3 perianth segments erect, ± narrow-oblong, without a terminal spine.

Fruiting perianth hardened, narrowing upwards from a protruding rim near the cuneate base, 4–6 mm wide including spines. Achene trigonous, brown.


Distribution and occurrence: Recorded once in disturbed pasture near Gulargambone (?not persistent there); occasionally naturalised in Qld, SA, Vic, WA. Native of Mediterranean region.
NSW subdivisions: *NWP
AVH map***

A weed of pasture and cultivation; the spiny fruit can cause lameness in stock. This species is much less common than E. australis. It grows taller than that species and is therefore more of a problem in cereal crops. See also Weeds in Australia profile compiled by K.L. Wilson & P.G. Kodela (2007).

Text by K.L. Wilson (1990), edited K.L. Wilson (Feb. 2007); name updated by H. Sauquet (Oct 2020)
Taxon concept: Flora of Aust ms (1995)


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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