Rumex pulcher

10. Rumex pulcher L. (Medit., W-Eur.) – A rare and ephemeral alien. First seen as an exceptional wool alien in 1903 in the Vesdre valley. Apparently slightly increasing in more recent times. Seen in 1953 on a dump in Hoboken, probably as a grain alien, subsequently also in Mechelen and Hautrage (Lambinon 1957, Duvigneaud 1968), in the latter location more or less in a natural habitat. Further recorded as a grain alien on a railway track in the port of Gent in 1999 and 2000 and on a demolition site in Gent (as a grain or wool alien) in 2002. Most recently seen near a grain mill in the Antwerp port area in 2015 and in a campingsite in Berlare in 2017.

Rumex pulcher is a variable species. Two more or less distinct subspecies have been recorded in Belgium: subsp. pulcher and subsp. woodsii (De Not.) Arcang. (syn.: subsp. divaricatus (L.) Murb., R. divaricatus L.). They are distinguished in the following couplet:

  • Valves with 6-8 short, irregular teeth on either side. Leaves rarely panduriform === subsp. woodsii
  • Valves with 4 long, almost subulate teeth on either side. Leaves usually panduriform === subsp. pulcher

Subsp. pulcher is the least rare of both subspecies and is native relatively close to the Belgian borders (Depasse 1989).

Herbarium specimen 1

Herbarium specimen 2


Selected literature:

Depasse S. (1989) Un site à Ranunculus parviflorus L., Rumex pulcher L. et Catapodium rigidum (L.) C.E. Hubbard dans l’Aisne (France). Dumortiera 44: 12-15.

Jansen P. & Wachter W.H. (1913) Floristische aanteekeningen VII. Rumex. Nederl. Kruidk. Arch. 1913: 91-140.

Duvigneaud J. (1968) Trouvailles floristiques. Rumex pulcher en Belgique. Nat. Mosana 21: 168-169.

Lambinon J. (1957) Contribution à l’étude de la flore adventice de Belgique. I. adventices rares ou nouvelles pour la Belgique. Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belg. 89: 85-100.

Rechinger K.H. (1932) Vorarbeiten zu einer Monographie der Gattung Rumex, 1. Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 49(2): 1-132. [available online at:]

Verloove F. (2003) Graanadventieven nieuw voor de Belgische flora, hoofdzakelijk in 1999 en 2000. Dumortiera 80: 45-53.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith