This species is known from Canada all the way south to the southern tip of South America, also known as Tierra del Fuego or Fuegia, thus the species name (Fernald 1950). It was named by Rodolfo Armando Philippi, a German-born scientist who moved to Chile in 1851 (Wikipedia contributors).
There are six existing populations but two of them may have been destroyed by exotic invasive plants. Only one population has hundreds of plants and the rest have less than 50 each. There are 13 populations recorded from the late 1800s to 1971 which need to be rechecked. Three populations no longer exist because their habitat has been destroyed
The short term trend seems to indicate a sharp decline but only four of the six sites have been resurveyed since 1990. Two of the smaller populations may have vanished, and a third was substantially smaller, but other population increased to 400 plants which is a 4 to 8 times its initially documented size. The remaining two populations seen since 1984 have not been resurveyed but were small or modest with 3 and 50 plants respectively.
This species appears to have significantly declined in the last 100 years. Resurveys of the thirteen historical and additional three extant sites known from prior to 1990 are needed to confirm this decrease.
Direct disturbance by trampling and off road vehicle use are threats in unprotected beach and salt marsh habitat. Salt marsh and interdunal habitat is also threatened by the uncontrolled expansion of Phragmites.
The saltmarshes need to be protected from the expansion of Phragmites into the areas where this plant grows. Natural buffers around the saltmarshes need to be maintained, and off-road vehicles excluded from the areas around known populations.
Propagation studies could be done to see if small populations can be augmented.
In New York Golden Dock has been almost exclusively in or adjacent to coastal wetlands, including barrier beaches, the edges of saltwater ponds and creeks, interdunal swales, and ballast areas. Saline habitats and possibly inland salt ponds or inland salt marshes represent the habitat of the species in the historical upstate records (New York Natural Heritage Program 2015). Saline, brackish or alkaline marshes and shores, as a weed in disturbed soil (Fernald 1970). Shores, streambanks, and wet ground, avoiding acid soils (Gleason & Cronquist 1991).
This wetland plant is currently known from Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. There are historical records from Queens and Delaware counties, and from scattered counties of the Finger Lakes and Buffalo area.
In the U.S. Golden Dock is common west of the Mississippi River north of Arkansas and Oklahoma, with scattered populations in Texas. Its range extends east across the northern tier of states, where it becomes rare from Ohio east to New Jersey, New York and New England. It has a circumpolar distribution globally.
Golden Dock is an annual (or sometimes biennial) herb species with erect stems normally 15 to 60 centimeters tall. Like other members of the buckwheat family, the stems are swollen at the nodes. The leaves are 5 to 25 centimeters long, lanceolate (lance-shaped) or linear-lanceolate, with wavy margins. The infloresence is terminal, with 15 to 30 tiny (1 to 3 millimeter) densely packed flowers, reddish-brown to red early, then turning greenish yellow when mature. Upon maturity, the inner tepals of Rumex flowers form structures called valves, surrounding the fruit (achenes). The midrib of one of these valves forms a protruding structure called a tubercle. The brown achenes of Rumex fueginus has turbercles twice as wide (2.5 to 3.5 millimeters) as the achenes themselves (FNA 2005).
Plants with mature fruits are necessary for identification.
R. persicarioides occupies similar habitats to R. fueginus and was historically known from New York, though there are no known extant records.The valves enclosing the achenes of Rumex persicarioides have much shorter (0.5-1.5 millimeters) wings, about as long as the width of the inner tepals, and the tubercle covering the achene is broad, rounded, and straw- colored. In contrast R. fueginus has valves with wings 1.5 to 2.5 times as long as the width of the inner tepals, and brown or reddish, narrow, lanceolate tubercles.
Golden Dock flowers from July through August, and the fruits persist through September and October.
The time of year you would expect to find American Golden Dock flowering and fruiting in New York.
American Golden Dock
Rumex fueginus Phil.
Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2005. Flora of North America North of Mexico, Volume 5, Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, Part 2. Oxford University Press, New York.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.
Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
House, Homer D. 1924. Annotated list of the ferns and flowering plants of New York State. New York State Museum Bulletin 254:1-758.
Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.
Mitchell, Richard S. and J. Kenneth Dean. 1978. Polygonaceae (buckwheat family) of New York State. Contributions to a flora of New York State. Richard S. Mitchell, ed. New York State Museum Bulletin No. 431. 79 pp.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2020. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Reschke, Carol. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 96 pp. plus xi.
Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York
This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young and Richard M. Ring
Information for this guide was last updated on: January 23, 2012
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2020. Online Conservation Guide for Rumex fueginus. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/golden-dock/. Accessed April 3, 2020.