Rumex crispus - L.
Curly Dock
Other Common Names: curly dock
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rumex crispus L. (TSN 20937)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160681
Element Code: PDPGN0P0E0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buckwheat Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Polygonales Polygonaceae Rumex
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rumex crispus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (07Sep2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Alaska (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, HIexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, LBexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Low/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Low
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Rumex crispus is a perennial, taprooted forb that is extremely widespread in the United States (and the world). It is an important weed of agriculture and occurs in a broad range of ruderal, agricultural, and semi-natural habitats; it is frequently found in open disturbed areas, croplands, pastures, roadsides, and ditches and occasionally found in more natural habitats such as meadows, streambanks, shores, forests, and vernal pools. This species requires disturbance for establishment, as seedlings are slow growers and poor competitors until their taproot systems have developed. Once established, it can grow in dense patches that displace native vegetation, although it ultimately an early-successional plant that does not tend to capture sites long-term. Can produce prodigious quantities of seed, have an extremely long-lived seed bank, and resprout from its taproot when plants are cut at the soil surface. Cutting plants below-ground or treating with herbicide can achieve successful control.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 24Sep2007
Evaluator: Gravuer, K.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to a very large area of Eurasia (and adjacent northern Africa), including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, France (including Corsica) Portugal, Spain (including Baleares and the Canary Islands), Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy (including Sardinia and Sicily), Romania, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine (including Krym), Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation (the European portion, Ciscaucasia, Dagestan, and Kamchatka and Primorye in the Far East), Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (USDA-ARS 2007).

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is a non-native that is established outside of cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Occurs in a very broad range of ruderal, agricultural, and seminatural habitats (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005) - more natural habitats where occasionally found include meadows (upland and wetland), stream banks, shores, upland and lowland forest (likely in clearings), and vernal pools (Steyermark 1963, Holm et al. 1977, Voss 1985, Kozak 1999, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Welsh et al. 2003, Sarkis 2004, Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006, Cal-IPC 2006, Wisconsin State Herbarium 2007).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: Impacts have not been documented and appear to be minor (Sarkis 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006, Cal-IPC 2006).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: Requires disturbance for establishment, as seedlings are slow growers and poor competitors until their taproot systems have developed (Holm et al. 1977, Egler 1983, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Sarkis 2004, Zaller 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Once established, it can grow in dense patches that may alter vegetation structure (density and/or cover) in the herbaceous layer (Weber 2003, Sarkis 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Ultimately, however, it is regarded as an early-successional plant that does not tend to capture sites long-term (Harper-Lore 2001).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance
Comments: Requires disturbance for establishment, as seedlings are slow growers and poor competitors until their taproot systems have developed (Holm et al. 1977, Egler 1983, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Sarkis 2004, Zaller 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Once established, it can grow in dense patches that displace native vegetation (Weber 2003, Sarkis 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Ultimately, however, it is regarded as an early-successional plant that does not tend to capture sites long-term (Harper-Lore 2001).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2005) note that this species "hybridizes with many other species of subgenus Rumex." There are species in this subgenus that are native to North America; however, all documented reports of hybridization that could be located involved other non-native Rumex (e.g. R. obtusifolius, R. patientia) (Sarkis 2004, Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: This species is so widespread and abundant that it most likely does occasionally establish in communities of some conservation value. It has been reported as invasive in Death Valley National Park, Haleakala National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and some Nature Conservancy preserves (Swearingen 2007), but it is not clear that it is necessarily invading high-quality communities on these lands. On Montara Mountain outside San Francisco, a location with many relatively intact communities, this species is commonly found along creeks and seep areas (Kozak 1999). A "common associate" of the Suisun thistle Cirsium hydrophilum var. hydrophilum, aT1, LE plant (USFWS 2006) and a "reported associate" of the lesser saltscale (Atriplex minuscula), a G1 plant (USFWS 1998).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Extremely widespread in the United States; present in all 50 states, with records in all or nearly all counties in a majority of states (Kartesz 1999, NRCS 2007).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Occasionally establishes in communities of some conservation value (e.g. meadows, stream banks, shores, forest, or vernal pools). Once established, it can grow in dense patches that displace native vegetation (Weber 2003, Sarkis 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: All or nearly all US ecoregions are invaded, based on visual comparison of the generalized range and ecoregions map (The Nature Conservancy 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High significance
Comments: Occurs in a very broad range of ruderal, agricultural, and seminatural habitats (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005) - frequently found in open disturbed areas, croplands, pastures, roadsides, and ditches; occasionally found in more natural habitats such as meadows (upland and wetland), stream banks, shores, upland and lowland forest (likely in clearings), and vernal pools (Spencer 1940, Drew and Helm 1941, Muenscher 1955, Steyermark 1963, USDA-ARS 1970, Crockett 1977, Holm et al. 1977, Voss 1985, Kozak 1999, Wagner et al. 1999, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Welsh et al. 2003, Royer and Dickinson 2004, Sarkis 2004, Zaller 2004, Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006, Cal-IPC 2006, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship 2007, Wisconsin State Herbarium 2007). Found on a wide range of soils, although apparently does not thrive on acidic soils (Holm et al. 1977, Uva et al. 1997, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Plants for a Future 2003, Zaller 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Found on both wet and drier ground, although it appears to prefer moist to wet (not very wet) conditions; a facultative wetland indicator in most of the western US (Holm et al. 1977, Voss 1985, Uva et al. 1997, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Plants for a Future 2003, VADCR and VANPS 2003, Royer and Dickinson 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship 2007). Prefers full sun or very light shade (Plants for a Future 2003, VADCR and VANPS 2003, Welsh et al. 2003). Once well-established, plants are able to withstand severe cold and drought owing to their deep tap root (Holm et al. 1977, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Has adapted to a wide range of altitudes (Zaller 2004).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Low significance
Comments: Already extremely widespread in the United States; present in all 50 states, with records in all or nearly all counties in a majority of states (Kartesz 1999, NRCS 2007). First observed in North America in 1748 (Royer and Dickinson 2004).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Insignificant
Comments: Already extremely widespread in the United States; present in all 50 states, with records in all or nearly all counties in a majority of states (Kartesz 1999, NRCS 2007).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Many seeds fall near the parent plant (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Zaller 2004). Fruits are lightweight, however, so may occasionally be transported longer distances by wind or water (Holm et al. 1977, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Royer and Dickinson 2004, Zaller 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Seeds are also capable of surviving ingestion by cattle and small birds (but not chickens), so can be dispersed by that route (Holm et al. 1977, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Sarkis 2004, Zaller 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). In addition, this species is a common seed contaminant (even in relatively "pure" seed), and can also be transported by adhering to agricultural machinery (Holm et al. 1977, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Low significance
Comments: Rapid local spread can occur without management (Sarkis 2004). Sources predict that infestation will most likely increase in the future (Zaller 2004).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Requires disturbance for establishment, as seedlings are slow growers and poor competitors until their taproot systems have developed (Holm et al. 1977, Egler 1983, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Sarkis 2004, Zaller 2004, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Stimulated by human activities (Zaller 2004); soil disturbance at any time seems to stimulate germination (Holm et al. 1977). An early-successional plant that does not tend to capture sites long-term (Harper-Lore 2001).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Naturalized in tropical Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Azores, Mascarenes, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia (USDA-ARS 2007). Appears to occur in largely similar habitats abroad (e.g. Webb et al. 1988); however, Weber (2003) lists it in freshwater wetlands and coastal marshes, which it does not appear to have invaded to a great degree in the US.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: Capable of producing prodigious quantities of seed (100 - 60,000 seed per plant per year have been recorded) and has an extremely long-lived seed bank (some seeds are still viable after 80 years) (Holm et al. 1977, Zaller 2004). After cultivation or cutting, can regenerate shoots from the uppermost part of the taproot (top 5 cm or so; botanically, the rhizome) (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Zaller 2004).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Plants can be mechanically- or hand-cut below ground (to ensure that the regeneration-capable rhizome is removed) or can be sprayed with herbicide (e.g. glyphosate, dicamba, picloram, or triclopyr) (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Weber 2003, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). If not dug out early in the season, plants may continue to mature seed even after removed from the ground (Drew and Helm 1941). The long-lived seed bank may necessitate prolonged follow-up efforts.

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Has an extremely long-lived seed bank (some seeds are still viable after 80 years) (Holm et al. 1977, Zaller 2004).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: It is probably possible to localize much of the effect of cutting or spraying these plants. Also, many of the habitats invaded by this species (e.g. open disturbed areas, croplands, pastures, roadsides, and ditches) are likely to have few co-occurring natives present.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Insignificant
Comments: The predominantly open, disturbed habitats invaded by this species should pose few accessibility problems. Its importance as an agricultural weed means that some infestations are likely to be located on privately-owned farmland, but it is widely regarded as an undesirable species by the agricultural community, so it is unlikely that control efforts would meet with resistance.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Agricultural Research Service. 1970. Common weeds of the United States. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washington, D.C. 463 pp.

  • Alaska Natural Heritage Program. 2006, 29 March last update. Non-native plant species of Alaska: Curly dock (Rumex crispus L.), Bitter dock (R. obtusifolius L.), Dooryard dock (R. longifolius DC.). Available: http://akweeds.uaa.alaska.edu/pdfs/species_bios_pdfs/Species_bios_RUCR&RUOB.pdf (Accessed 2007).

  • California Invasive Plant Inventory (CAL-IPC). 2006. CAL-IPC Publication 2006-02. California Invasive Plant Council: Berkeley, CA. Available. www.cal-ipc.org.

  • Crockett, L. J. 1977. Wildly successful plants. McMillan Publishing Co., New York. 268 pp.

  • DiTomaso, J.M. and E.A. Healy. 2003. Aquatic and riparian weeds of the West. Regents of University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Publication 3421.

  • Drew, W. B. and C. A. Helm. 1941. Representative Missouri weeds and their control. Bulletin 433, University of Missouri College of Agriculture Agricultural Experiment Station. Columbia, Missouri.

  • Egler, F. E. 1983. The nature of naturalization II. Studies in naturalization: 1925-1980. The introduced flora of Aton Forest, Connecticut. Publication No. 6, Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State College, Dover, Delaware.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2005. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 5. Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae: Caryophyllales, Polygonales, and Plumbaginales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. vii + 656 pp.

  • Harper-Lore, B. L. 2001. Incorporating invasive plant analysis into NEPA. in: Proceedings of the 2001 International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, Eds. Irwin CL, Garrett P, McDermott KP. Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC: pp. 317-319.

  • Holm, L.G., P. Donald, J.V. Pancho, and J.P. Herberger. 1977. The World's Worst Weeds: Distribution and Biology. The University Press of Hawaii: Honolulu, Hawaii. 609 pp.

  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. 2007. Johnson County, Iowa: Secondary roads: Noxious and invasive weed species to be controlled. Online. Available: http://www.johnson-county.com/secondaryroads/WeedComm/WeedSpecies/index.shtml (Accessed 2007)

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Kozak, C. 1999, 11 October last update. Native plants of Montara mountain (with a few non-native types included). Online. Available: http://plants.montara.com/ (Accessed 2005).

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Muenscher, W. C. 1955. Weeds. The MacMillan Co., New York.

  • Plants for a Future. 2003, June 2004 last update. Plants for a future database. Available: http://www.pfaf.org/database/ (Accessed 2007).

  • Royer, F. and R. Dickinson. 2004. Weeds of the Northern U.S. and Canada. Lone Pine Publishing, Renton, WA, USA and University of Alberta Press, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

  • Sarkis, M. 2004. Part IV. Plant Assessment Form, for use with "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands" by the California Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Southwest Vegetation Management Association: Rumex crispus. Available: http://portal.cal-ipc.org/files/PAFs/Rumex%20crispus.pdf (Accessed 2007).

  • Spencer, E. R. 1940. Just weeds. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, NY.

  • Steyermark, J.A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames. 1728 pp.

  • Swearingen, J. 2007. Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group. Online. Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/list/ (accessed 2007)

  • U.S. Fish and Widlife Service (USFWS). 11 April 2006. Proposed designation of critical habitat for the Cirsium hydrophilum var. hydrophilum (Suisun thistle) and Cordylanthus mollis ssp. mollis (soft bird's-beak). Federal Register 71(69): 18456-18493.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1998. Recovery plan for upland species of the San Joaquin Valley, California. Region 1, Portland, OR. 319 pp.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2007 last update. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, MD. Online. Available: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl (Accessed 2007).

  • USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, PLANTS Database [USDA PLANTS]. http://plants.usda.gov/. Accessed 2007.

  • Uva, R.H., J.C. Neal, and J.M. DiTomaso. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, New York. 397 pp.

  • Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR). 2003. September-last update. List of invasive alien plant species of Virginia. Available: http://www.vnps.org/invasive.html.

  • Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicotyledons. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1212 pp.

  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.

  • Wells, E. F. no date. Exotic species of plants in colonial northern Virginia. George Washington University, Washington, DC.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.

  • Wisconsin State Herbarium. 2007. Wisconsin state herbarium vascular plant species database. Available: http://www.botany.wisc.edu/wisflora/. (Accessed 2007).

  • Zaller, J. G. 2004. Ecology and non-chemical control of Rumex crispus and R. obtusifolius (Polygonaceae): a review. Weed Research 44: 414-432.

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