Information on Water Dock

Common Name: Water Dock
Scientific Name: Rumex hydrolapathum
Irish Name: Copóg uisce
Family Group: Polygonaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Water Dock is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This unmistakeable, upright, handsome plant is found in wet places such as river banks, canals, ditches and lake margins.  The tallest of our Docks, it reaches 2 metres at times, bearing tall spikes of tiny green flowers which, from July to September, are held in whorls or clusters and which turn red. Each little flower consists of 6 toothess segments which then surround the triangular fruit.  The most impressive parts of this plant – apart from its size – are the long, banana-like leaves which can reach 1 metre long.  They are narrow, lanceolate and taper at both ends being 4-5 times as long as they are wide.  This is a native plant and it belongs to the family Polygonaceae.  

I first identified this plant at Tintern Abbey, Co Wexford in 2009 and photographed it then.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Dock, Water
Dock, Water

Also known as Great Water Dock, Dock is listed among our folklore clues thus:

 'To cure a sting of a nettle, place a dock leaf over sore part for a few minutes and it will be well.'

From National Folklore Collection, UCD Delargy Centre for Irish Folklore. NFC 107:341 From Co Wexford.

Nathaniel Colgan's Flora of the County Dublin (1904) records that this plant was 'Probably at one time more abundant in the county, before the marsh lands were reduced by drainage'.