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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 5 | Polygonaceae | Rumex

36. Rumex alpinus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 334. 1753.
[name proposed for conservation]

Monk's-rhubarb, butter or Alpine dock

Plants perennial, glabrous or minutely papillose-pubescent, with stout, creeping rhizome. Stems erect, branched above middle, 60-100 cm. Leaves: ocrea mostly deciduous or sometimes partially persistent at maturity; blade usually ovate-orbiculate, sometimes orbiculate or broadly ovate, 20-40 × 20-35 cm, base deeply and widely cordate, margins entire, flat or slightly undulate, apex obtuse. Inflorescences terminal, occupying distal 1/ 2 of stem, rather dense, widely paniculate to fusiform. Pedicels articulated at middle or in proximal 3, filiform, 3-9 mm, articulation distinctly swollen. Flowers 10-20 in whorls; inner tepals ovate or ovate-triangular, 4-5(-6) × 3-5 mm, base truncate or slightly cordate, margins entire or subentire, apex obtuse or subobtuse; tubercles absent. Achenes brown to brownish green, 2.5-3.5 × 1-2 mm. 2n = 20.

Flowering late spring-summer. Waste places: roadsides, old fields and gardens, disturbed meadows; 0-1500 m; introduced; N.S; Maine, Vt.; c, s Europe; w Asia.

Rumex alpinus belongs to subsect. Alpini Rechinger f. The name R. alpinus has been proposed for nomenclatural conservation (S. Cafferty and S. Snogerup 2000).

This species was first reported from North America in Nova Scotia (M. L. Fernald 1921; K. H. Rechinger 1937). It remains uncommon in the United States and Canada. Rumex alpinus never has been reported as being a serious invasive weed; however, it may persist at a site for a very long time. Previously, the species was culti-vated widely, mostly for medicinal and veterinary purposes.


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