Botanical Name: Rumex acetosella / Acetosella vulgaris
Common Names: Sheep Sorrel, Red Sorrel, Sour Weed, Field Sorrel, Common Sorrel
Sheep Sorrel is a herbaceous perennial plant thats flowering stems that can grow up to around 30cm in height. The leaves are quite easy to identify as they look a bit like an arrowhead with 2 distinct basal lobes.
The mature plant is mainly prostrate in appearance and spreads through creeping underground stems.
The leaves grow alternate and form a rosette, they are oval/spade like in shape and on long petioles (stem of leaf). The leaf is hairless and between 2cm-10cm in length and 2cm-4cm wide.
The flowers are small and only around 0.2cm in size, each flower has 6 sepals, no petals and range in colour from yellow to a reddish brown, they are clustered near the top of the stem in a branching inflorescence.
The seeds have 3 sides and are only around 0.1cm in size and are a rusty brown in colour.
The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves have a sour taste due to the oxalic acid they contain and are very refreshing in salads. The leaves when cooked can be used as a thickener in soups or stews. The leaves can also be dehydrated,ground and used like a dried herb at a later date.
Sheep Sorrel is an excellent source of vitamin C and is one of the strongest antioxidant herbs around. It has been used to treat blood disorders, fevers, inflammation, mouth and throat ulcers, diarrhoea and has also been used to treat Cancer. Sheep Sorrel has also been used externally to treat many skin problems including herpes, rashes, eczema and hives.