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I Grew Up In Yuma, Arizona, And My Grandmother Had…

Jean Asked

I grew up in Yuma, Arizona, and my grandmother had in her yard a plant that only came up once a year from what looked like tubers. It had long slender green stems with a flower on the end no bigger than a quarter. We would eat the long, tart stems. She called them dok saul, though I’m not sure if the spelling is correct. What was this plant?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Jean in Arizona: As a Kentucky gardener I’m afraid this does not sound familiar to me at all. The only plant that comes to mind is a Rumex, which is commonly referred to as dock or sorrel. The Rumex genus contains over 200 species of annuals, biennials, and perennial herbs/ornamentals. They do produce long slender stalks like you mentioned, but as far as I know only the foliage is used for culinary purposes. Rumex scutatus is most commonly used for cooking. Gardening in Kentucky is very different than gardening in Arizona, so you might consider contacting your county Cooperative Extension Service to see if the agriculture or horticulture agent(s) can give you a more definitive answer. You can visit the Yuma County Web site at or call them at (928) 726-3904.

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