Common Sorrel

©Northeast Wildlife

Common sorrel

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Scientific name: Rumex acetosa
Common sorrel is a common plant of grasslands, woodland edges, roadside verges and gardens. It is also known as 'Sour Ducks' because its leaves taste tart.

Top facts


Height: up to 60cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to August


Common sorrel is a common, upright plant, often found in grasslands, and along woodland edges and roadside verges. It has slender leaves and attractive flowers that appear in May and June, peppering the green grasses of our meadows with crimson and pink. Its numerous other common names, from 'Sour Ducks' to 'Vinegar Plant', all allude to the fact that its leaves taste extremely tart and dry due to their high levels of oxalic acid.

What to look for

Common sorrel is a perennial with arrow-shaped leaves that grow from the stem at the base of the plant. Reddish flowers are carried on slender spikes.

Where to find


Did you know?

Traditionally, the juice of Common sorrel was used to remove stains from linen.