Climbing dock
Polygonaceae - Rumex sagittatus

What does it look like?

Scrambling or low-climbing perennial with brown kumara or beetroot-like tubers (5-20 cm long) with yellow flesh as well as extensive long weak rhizomes. Hairless, reddish-green stems (to 3-4 m long) are ribbed, zigzagging and slender. Light green arrow-shaped leaves (3-8 x 2-6 cm) have pointed basal lobes facing downwards. Clusters of small, green-pink or reddish flowers are produced at the top of the plant from November to March, followed by large masses of showy yellow-pink-crimson, flat, heart-shaped capsules (1 cm diameter) containing seeds.

Why is it a problem?

Effective dispersal mechanisms and a fast growth rate allows it to scramble quickly over most plants to 3+ m high. Tolerates damp or drought conditions (dies back to tubers), hot to cool temperatures and most soils, but intolerant of shade.

Invades regenerating habitats, bare and open sites, replaces low canopy, and prevents the establishment of native plant seedlings. Provides support for more aggressive vines, kikuyu, etc.

Control Methods

Physical control

  • Dig out tubers and rhizomes, small sites only (spring-summer). Dispose of at a refuse transfer station or burn.

Herbicide control.

  • Spray with 100mls glyphosate (360g/l e.g. Round-up®) + 20mls penetrant per 10 litres water or 5g metsulfuron-methyl (600g/kg e.g. Escort®) + 10mls penetrant per 10 litres water.Spray in summer only

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. 

Related Links