Turkey rhubarb (Rumex sagittatus)

Also known as: rambling dock

Turkey rhubarb is a vigorous perennial climber with arrow shaped leaves. It smothers ground covers and small shrubs.


How does this weed affect you?

Turkey rhubarb is highly invasive, growing vigorously during spring and summer. It has escaped from gardens into nearby bushland where it forms dense tangles that smother ground flora and small shrubs. 

What does it look like?

Turkey rhubarb is a perennial climber. The stems are ribbed, red or green and up to 3 m long. It has numerous tubers up to 10 cm long and an extensive root system.

Leaves are spear shaped, 6–10 cm long and 3–5 cm wide. They are alternate along the stem.

Flowers are small and green to whitish. The fruit is a small nut surrounded by three papery wings. The wings are straw-coloured when mature and have a pink or purplish tinge on the edges.

Scientific name change

This plant was previously named Acetosa sagittata.

Where is it found?

Turkey rhubarb grows in all coastal regions in NSW and in the Northern Tablelands.

It is native to southern Africa.

How does it spread?

By seeds

Turkey rhubarb can produce fruit within one year of germination. It produces many seeds which can remain dormant for at least 2 years. Seeds are spread by wind, water and by people dumping garden waste.

By plant parts

This plant reproduces vegetatively by tubers and rhizomes. These are spread by water, moving contaminated soil and by people dumping garden waste.


Muyt, A. (2001). Bush invaders of South-East Australia: a guide to the identification and control of environmental weeds found in South-East Australia. RG and FJ Richardson.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 26 April 2021 from: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Rumex~sagittatus

Queensland Government (2016). Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland edition Fact sheet: Acetosa sagittata  Retrieved 26 April 2021 from:  https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/acetosa_sagittata.htm

More information

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Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 200 mL in 10 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 part per 1.5 parts of water
Comments: Scrape stem application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2020