Woody Dock

Rumex usambarensis

a polygonaceae possibly Rumex or polygonum, photo © by Michael Plagens

This plant was found growing in partial shade along a moist woodland trail at Kerio View (Elgeyo Escarpment), near Iten, Kenya. Elevation October 2010.

Rumex Leaf Beetle  gall mites on Rumex from Iten © Michael Plagens

Rumex Leaf Beetle      Rumex Gall Mites

Several species of Chrysomelidae beetles are associated with Rumex in the many places where it grows. They are small, but sometimes numerous enough to defoliate the plants. Follow the thumb link above for more information about this beetle. Bright red blisters or warts are the result of microscopic mites feeding inside the leaf!

There are some 200 species of Rumex mostly in the northern hemisphere. Many contain appreciable amount of oxalic acid (sorrel = sour) which can be toxic to mammals by causing severe kidney damage. The flowers are small but the developing fruits are often quite showy with shades of pink or yellow. The fruit have two or three verticle, papery wings. This species grows as a woody shrub and has thick leaves with distinctly hastate (paired lobes at base) leaves.

close-up of hastate leaf. a polygonaceae possibly Rumex usambarensis, photo © by Michael Plagens close up of fruit and flowers. a polygonaceae possibly Rumex usambarensis, photo © by Michael Plagens

Polygonaceae -- Buckwheat Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 15 Dec. 2010,
updated 5 Jan. 2015.