Weed Red sorrel or sheep sorrel
Scientific Name Rumex acetosella
Family Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae)
Life Cycle perennial
Reproduction Method Reproduces by seed and rhizomes
Appearance Red sorrel creeps using an extensive, shallow system of roots and rhizomes and sends up new plants at branches. Slender, erect simple branching stems emerge from the rosette of leaves and can reach 6 to 18 inches in height with flowers borne at the apex.
Leaves The simple leaves of sheep sorrel are fleshy, approximately 1 to 3 inches long, and arrow-shaped having two basal lobes. They mostly emerge from a rosette in the early period of growth and alternate along the stem later. The leaves have an acid taste.
Flowers The flowers are yellow to red borne clustered at the ends of stems. Flowering occurs June to August and male and female flowers develop on different plants.
Occurrence Sheep sorrel occurs in acidic soils of low fertility, often where there is a lack of competition.
Non Chemical Control Hand pull plants attempting to remove entire root mass and all rhizomes.
Chemical Control
Application Period Apply postemergence broadleaf herbicides during periods of active growth from mid spring through early summer and again during autumn.
Active Ingredient in Labeled Products



  • isoxaben
  • 2,4-D
  • 2,4-DP
  • clopyralid
  • dicamba
  • MCPA
  • MCPP
  • triclopyr

(Click on Image to Enlarge and Sharpen Photograph)

Red sorrel immature

Red sorrel plant

Red sorrel in turf

Red sorrel rhizome

Red sorrel stand in bloom

Red sorrel flower up close

Confused?? Look-a-Likes