Dock Leaves

I can’t say what it is about weeds that l have always loved? Perhaps it is quite simply because they are misunderstood like some animal species. Whatever your opinion or view is on weeds, they are everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Twenty-five years ago, l used to forage for weeds to feed the enormous number of rabbits l had in my commercial breeding operation. Knowing about them made everything easier because it meant that l wouldn’t accidentally kill an animal by feeding the wrong weed.

Most weeds are harmless, not all. Of course, some are and can be deadly. The fact is that people don’t like weeds because they don’t belong where they usually appear or are out of place. Many a time, gardeners especially don’t want them because weeds tend to grow quicker and easier than many ornamental flowers.

Weeds have a way of surviving. They are ONLY considered weeds on the domestic level because, let’s be honest, when we are out walking in the countryside, how many people are bothered by the presence of weeds then?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having weeds in your gardens and yards. They do have a lot of benefits that many people tend to ignore, and this series will highlight that.
The Beauty of Weeds

Companion Plantings
Encouraging wildlife
Fertilising and enriching the soils
Providing and active Mulch/Soil protection
Attracting pollinators and good insects
Repelling pests
Food source for animals and humans
Serves as decoy crops
Great for wildlifing the garden
Soil conditioning

Dock Leaves

Rumex spp.

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered”.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a child, l remember that more docks were growing near nettles and yet today, it appears as though the two have had some argument in the years because the distance between them seems to be getting wider and wider!

If l thought that was strange or that l was losing the plot. I read an article a few years ago that further suggested that my thought pattern was not that unusual. Because of how woodland is changing, particular wildlife companionship has also been changing. The mutuality locations are indeed more distant.

Over the years, l have, as one does, managed to gather some either helpful or useless facts on the dock leaf pending. Of course, who is reading?
Broad-leaved dock [Rumex obtusfolius] and Curled dock [Rumex crispus]
Dock leaves are famously known for their salve properties and taking the itch from a nettle sting. If stung by a nettle, tear off a portion of the dock leaf, crush it between your fingers and apply to the affected area or simply rub the leaf directly upon the itch.
New fresh young leaves can be eaten and are great in salads or cooked into a soup or even a stir fry. They can even be added to make pesto. The young leaves are rich in vitamin C and assorted minerals. However, like most weeds, the keyword is moderation. Please don’t overdo it.
Docks are a much loved weed by butterflies and especially used as larval food plants. but equally other insects enjoy the benefits of docks too including moths and beetles.
The dock makes for a great addition to wildlife gardens.
Docks can be challenging to control, especially if left unattended due to their deep and branched taproot. If left uncollected or swept up, the plant produces many seeds which can remain in the soil for many years.
Docks are a much-loved weed by butterflies and are primarily used as larval food plants. But equally, other insects enjoy the benefits of docks, too, including moths and beetles.
Docks can and do tolerate poor quality soil and will thrive in it.

I hope you enjoyed D for Dock Leaves, and I’ll see you again soon.

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Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

25 thoughts on “Dock Leaves

  1. Dock weed be too much for me – I often leave yard unattended 😮 lol

    I have weeds but mine are clovers 🍀 and maybe crab grass

    But that’s because I leave unattended lol

    I have to figure out how to do stuff that wont hurt lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime you wanna come – let me know!! 👏👏

        But we pretty cold too at this time!! 20’s overnight so my car all frosted 🤨

        And only 40’s and 50’s as highs 😝

        Ugh winter!! Almost through it!!

        But yeah anytime!! 🙌

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes but are you using Celsius? Lol switch to ℉ and isn’t so bad sounding lol

        Damn that is cold and if that is ℉ – I would be scared what that was in Celsius lol 😮😮

        Well you could start in So Cal where is warmer and work your way up to me lol… I am Nor Cal … we will start warming in February (maybe but who knows with wacky weather 🤷‍♀️)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Maine gets pretty cold like that … in ℉ it dips in to the negative digits 😮😝😝🥶

        I do NOT miss that!!

        I swear your eyeballs freeze and you look like Rudolph all the time 😮😝

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Down in the south, we don’t often get really cold weather and severe frosts like we experienced [ironically it is now pouring again] so we southerners are quite sensitive to these temps unlike the Scots who are used to seeing the snowier weathers more and are hardy.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Hahaha yeah or nylons

        Is legs …they are not as sensitive to cold and arms and upper body

        Lol – well I do have an Uncle Tom but his last name is not Hardy lol

        Liked by 1 person

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