Broad-leaved dock

Broad-leaved Dock

©Northeast Wildlife

Broad-leaved Dock

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Broad-leaved dock

Scientific name: Rumex obtusifolius
Broad-leaved dock is well-known to most of us as the remedy for Stinging nettle irritations. Often considered a 'weed', it can be found next to water or on disturbed ground almost anywhere.

Species information


Height: up to 1m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Broad-leaved dock is a common plant that grows on waste ground, in hedgerows, gardens and roadside verges, and next to water all over the UK. An abundant perennial, flower spikes appear from June to October. It is well-known to most of us as the herbal remedy for Stinging nettle irritations, yet there are differing opinions as to whether it really works or not.

How to identify

Broad-leaved dock is a tall plant with very large, wavy-edged, oblong leaves that have red stems on their undersides. Flower spikes have numerous clusters of reddish-brown flowers.



Did you know?

Broad-leaved dock is one of the foodplants of the caterpillars of the Small copper butterfly.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of buttercups in your lawn or nettles near your compost heap, to see who comes to visit? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.