[The Genus Rumex East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Alpine Sorrel, Alpine Sheep Sorrel, Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock

Rumex paucifolius

Synonyms: Acetosa gracilescens, Acetosella paucifolia, Rumex paucifolius ssp. gracilescens

Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius

Mountain sorrel as seen at Summit Prairie, Malheur National Forest...........June 26, 2011.

Inflorescence of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifoliusThe photo at right shows the mature inflorescence of mountain sorrel as seen along the North Steens Mt Loop Road............June 27, 1997.
Characteristics:

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.

Habitat:

Mountain sorrel is found in moist meadows from the lower slopes to above timberline.


Range:

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.


Ventral surface of a basal leaf of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius
The photo above shows the underside of a large leaf of mountain sorrel as seen along the North Steens Mt Loop Road.............June 27, 1997.

Inflorescence of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius - Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius

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.

Basal leaves of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius (Synonym: Acetocella paucifolia) - Close-up of the leaf stipules of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius (Synonym: Acetocella paucifolia) - Close-up of the inflorescence of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius (Synonym: Acetocella paucifolia)

Close-up of the inflorescence of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius (Synonym: Acetocella paucifolia) - Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius (Synonym: Acetocella paucifolia) - Close-up of the inflorescence of Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius (Synonym: Acetocella paucifolia)

Additional close-up photos of mountain sorrel as seen at Summit Prairie, Malheur National Forest...........June 26, 2011.

Mountain Sorrel, Slender Meadow Dock: Rumex paucifolius

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.

Paul Slichter