[The Genus Rumex East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]
Alpine Sorrel, Alpine Sheep Sorrel, Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock
Synonyms: Acetosa gracilescens, Acetosella paucifolia, Rumex paucifolius ssp. gracilescens
Mountain sorrel as seen at Summit Prairie, Malheur National Forest...........June 26, 2011 (left) and the same location on May 28, 2014 (right)..
photo at right shows the mature inflorescence of mountain sorrel
as seen along the North Steens Mt Loop Road............June 27, 1997.
Mountain sorrel is also known as alpine or mountain sheep-sorrel.
It is a glabrous perennial with one to several slender, unbranched stems arising
15-60 cm high from a branched crown and thick taproot. All but 1-3 of the
leaves are basal. The leaf blades are lanceolate or lanceolate-oblong (See
photo below.) with obtuse tips and measure from 6-12 cm long. The petioles
are very long with the blade tapering gradually into the petiole. The several
stem leaves are greatly reduce upwards on the stem.
The inflorescence is long and slender (See photo
at right) with several to many erect (often bracteate) branches. The inflorescence
is commonly equals in length to the supporting stem. The flowers usually are
found in clusters of several perianths found in the axils of the bracts. The
flowers are imperfect and pale to deep red. The outer perianth segments are
spreading to erect. The inner perianth segments are cordate-orbiular in shape
at maturity and are up to 3 mm long and about as wide. They are thin, veiny
and have entire margins. The fruits are smooth achenes up to about 1.5 mm long.
Mountain sorrel is found in moist meadows from
the lower slopes to above timberline.
Mountain sorrel is found to the east of the Cascade crest
from southern British Columbia south to the southern Sierra Nevada in California
and east to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mts from Alberta south to Colorado.
The photo above shows the underside of a large leaf of
mountain sorrel as seen along the North Steens Mt Loop Road.........June
Close-ups of the whole plant and of the developing panicle of mountain sorrel
as seen at Jackman Park on the Steens Mt in southeastern Oregon.........June
24, 2000. Note the large leafy bracts below each branch of the panicle.
Additional close-up photos of mountain sorrel as seen at Summit Prairie, Malheur National Forest........June 26, 2011.
Mountain sorrel as seen in grasslands along the summit ridge between the East Rim Viewpoint and the Steens Mountain summit, Harney County, Oregon.........September 1, 2011.