Weeds: Red sorrel (Sheep sorrel) – Rumex acetosella

categories: Pr-Sc Weeds

revision date: 2024-06-22 10:59

  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant type: Broadleaf
Red sorrel leaves.
Red sorrel leaves
Photo by: T.W. Miller


Red sorrel has a creeping root system and spreads aggressively by underground roots and rhizomes. The upright, somewhat woody stems grow to a height of 1/2 to two feet, with little branching in the lower portions. Leaves are alternate on the hairless stems, with short petioles and a papery sheath at the point of attachment to the stem. The leaves have a distinctive lance or arrowhead shape, with two narrow lobes at the base of the blade. Reddish flowers are borne in loose clusters on branching stems at the top of the plant. Red sorrel is dioecious, bearing red-brown female flowers and yellow-green to red-orange male flowers on separate plants. The glossy, reddish-brown seeds are triangular in shape and are typically enclosed by the persisting remains of the flowers.


Red sorrel thrives on acid soils, but it is well-adapted to many soil types and growing conditions. It may be a weed of waste places, lawns, fields, gardens, and roadsides.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • None recommended

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Apply according to label directions.
  • Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only!
  • NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination.
  • Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.


Landscape areas

  • glyphosate
  • products containing dicamba

Turf areas

  • products containing dicamba

Bare ground areas

  • glyphosate
  • products containing dicamba

Additional Images