What is dock?


There are nine species of dock in Tasmania, including several native species. Three docks are significant pasture weeds in Tasmania: curled dock (Rumex crispus), broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius), and fiddle dock (Rumex pulcher).

How to identify dock

  • Dock species are very similar in appearance, and identification in the vegetative (non-flowering) stages is difficult.
  • The common curled dock grows to one metre in height. The leaves are broadly spear-shaped, pointed at the tip with a wavy leaf margin. The stem is solid with longitudinal grooves. Several stems can be grown from a single base, with branching occurring towards the top.
  • Green flowers form in clusters and the seeds are found in a three-winged reddish-brown fruiting body. A reliable identification of the dock species depends on examination of the fruit.
  • Docks are perennials, or long-lived plants, and develop a deep tap root. Docks usually germinate in autumn and develop into rosettes (a whorl of leaves at ground level) through the winter. A flowering stem emerges in spring and the seed matures through summer. The stems usually die back during autumn and the plants over-winter as rosettes.
  • For help in identifying docks, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora Database. If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.

Curled Dock 4 Curled Dock 2
Curled Dock 3 Dock
Image top: curled dock (Image: Louis M. Landry)
Image above 1: curled dock (Image: Saint Mary's College of California)
Image above 2: curled dock (Image: Louis M. Landry)
Image above 3: curled dock (Image: Saint Mary's College of California)
Image above 4: curled dock (Image: S Matson)

Dock in Tasmania

  • Docks are not declared weeds in Tasmania.
  • Curled dock and broad-leaved dock are common in the higher rainfall areas of Tasmania, while fiddle dock is more tolerant of dry conditions.
  • Curled dock and broad-leaved dock thrive in irrigated areas such as dairy properties (especially in areas watered by dairy washings), orchards, and plantation crops such as hops. Curled dock and broad-leaved dock can be strongly competitive in pasture, and compete with establishing crop plants such as lucerne.
  • Fiddle dock can become a serious competitive weed in pastures, and can also cause problems in lawns and recreational turf.

Detailed management and control guidelines for docks can be found in the Docks Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Docks Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also

Docks Control Guide
Herbicides for Docks Control
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links

Pest Genie

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