Curly Dock is a taprooted broadleaf weed developing a basal rosette of wavy-margined leaves. Its leaves are shiny, progressively becoming more reddish-purple in color as it grows. Curly Dock produces elongated flowering stems that are smooth, ridged and often reddish in color. At maturity, the fruit and flowering stems of this plant are conspicuously reddish-brown. Blooming from April through May, Curly Dock develops flowers with no petals that are yellow to reddish-green in color and have no floral scent. Reproduction occurs by seeds.
This broadleaf weed prefers disturbed areas and grows in bare or thin areas of lawns, meadows, pastures, fallow fields, roadside banks, medians, vacant lots and along railroads and the edges of yards and gardens. Curly Dock can be found throughout most of North America.
Rumex crispus can be rather difficult to control using cultural weed control methods, such as proper watering, mowing and weed-pulling routines. This broadleaf weed can withstand lawn mowing and large variances in soil moisture. And if the weed and its roots are pulled, Curly Dock seeds can still remain viable underground—for more than 50 years.