Common sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

Common sheep sorrel Common Names: Sheep sorrel, red sorrel


Habit: Dioecious, herbaceous perennial with creeping rhizomes. Grows 4-16 inches in height and roots can reach a depth of 5 feet.

Leaves: Alternately arranged on flowering stem; arrowhead-shaped due to 2 lobes that occur at the base of the leaves. Most occur in a basal rosette and grow to 1-3 inches long, glabrous, and occur on petioles; Ocrea found on all leaves.

Stems: Erect, slender and reddish in color. Can reach 18 inches in height and branches in the upper portion only.

Flowers: Occur in clusters on nodding, flowering stems. Male flowers are yellowish-green in color while the female flowers are reddish in color. Flowers are usually 2 mm. across and consist of 6 sepals and no petals.

Fruit and seeds: Achene that are reddish in color.

Habitat: Native to Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and northern Africa. Can be found in sand prairies, sandy paths, abandoned fields, areas along railroads, gardens and lawns, gravel beds, and waste areas.

Reproduction: Reproduces vegitatively by creeping rhizomes and by seed dispersed by wind and insects.

Similar species: Native heartwing sorrel (Rumex hastatulus).

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England and Illinois Wild Flowers.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( Individual photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Common sheep sorrel

Scientific Name:

Rumex acetosella







USDA Symbol: