Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Heartwing sorrel

with 19 comments

Rumex hastatulus 1809

Here’s another picture from the April 27th field trip to Bastrop State Park led by botanist Bill Carr. This time you’re looking at Rumex hastatulus, called heartwing sorrel. Do you see the tiny stylized hearts?

Probably not many people are familiar with this plant, but it grows in most of the states from New Mexico to Massachusetts, as you can confirm on the USDA’s state-clickable map.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 27, 2014 at 5:59 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Very pretty. They look as though they would be juicy and succulent to eat.


    June 27, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    • I focused on the prettiness, especially the pink tinge offsetting the light green, but I never thought about this as food. I’ll bet there are creatures out there that do think of it as food.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 27, 2014 at 6:47 AM

      • People eat the leaves, but I don’t know about the flowers. Can’t find anything about them.


        June 27, 2014 at 6:54 AM

        • I’ve read that people eat the leaves of some of the 200 species in the genus Rumex, but I don’t know if this species is one of them.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 27, 2014 at 7:30 AM

  2. When I see the word “sorrel,” I think first of horses. But it appears the words for sorrel horses and sorrel plants have developed differently. It’s another example of “the same, but different.” This dictionary link clarifies that, and adds a few notes about using the plant for food.

    It is an especially pretty plant. You’ve shown other wildflowers whose pinks and greens suggest the “watermelon glass” made by companies like Tiffin in the early 1900s. I like the combination, wherever it appears.


    June 27, 2014 at 8:20 AM

  3. Very nice!


    June 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM

  4. Beautiful!


    June 27, 2014 at 9:57 AM

  5. Hmmm, sure enough, I see that it grows here in Illinois. I’ll have to go out now and see if I can find it. I am reading a book by Susan Wittig Albert called “Indigo Dying”. She is describing how the tall-grass prairie extended to Texas. Is this true? I didn’t realize the prairie I am familiar with here was the same as the one you have. I know there are some species we share.


    June 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM

  6. Nice little heart shapes. I have not seen it in IA.

    Jim in IA

    June 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    • No, Iowa’s not on the USDA map for this species. That doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t found there, but only that no one has reported it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 27, 2014 at 1:08 PM

  7. Very pretty image, Steve. Very well done.

    Steve Gingold

    June 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM

  8. I love the tiny stylized hearts, what an interesting plant.

    • There are a couple of other native plants I’m aware of here that produce wafers, but neither of those has the little stylized hearts that this sorrel does.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 28, 2014 at 5:15 AM

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