Oxyria digyna (L.) Hill

mountain-sorrel

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Mountain-sorrel is a buckwheat species of high-elevation, alpine, and artic sites, and enters New England only via northern New Hampshire, where there are only a few populations inhabiting alpine gullies, ravines, and brooksides. It produces spires of scarlet flowers in June to September; arctic and alpine populations differ in the amount of branching of the inflorescences and other features. Plants can also propagate asexually.

Habitat

Alpine or subalpine zones, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
New Hampshire
Flower petal color
green to brown
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
  • 1 or 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Fruit length
3–4.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx growth after flowering
    the calyx does not grow to cover or partially cover the fruit
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower petal color
    green to brown
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the flower has two or more completely separate styles
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    • the flower does not have a hypanthium
    • the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    2
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    the perianth is campanulate (bell-shaped, with a tube about as long as wide, flaring at the mouth)
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    green to brown
    Petal appearance
    the petals are green and/or leafy in texture
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    2
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the petals and sepals are similar
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal color
    green to brown
    Sepal number
    2
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen number
    • 1 or 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    the achenes are perpendicular to the plane of the perianth (vertical)
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    the fruit is an achene (dry, indehiscent, and usually one-seeded)
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    3–4.5 mm
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is flat or strongly compressed
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually one-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has basal placentation, where one or a few ovules develop at the base of a simple or compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit has one or more wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, has rounded lobes at the base)
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade length
    5–65 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the leaf blade is reniform (kidney-shaped; wider than long)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade width
    5–60 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the leaf blade margin is wavy, but does not have teeth
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf variation
    the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaflet number
    anything
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule features
    • glabrous on the surface
    • the stipules are straight (or somewhat slanted) across the top
    • the stipules do not have tiny hairs (cilia) at their tips
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    New Hampshire
    Specific habitat
    • alpine or subalpine zones
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    • the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    • there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    3–50 cm
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Rumex alpinus

Synonyms

  • Rumex digyna L.

Family

Polygonaceae

Genus

Oxyria

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Oxyria digyna (L.) Hill NC

mountain-sorrel. Rumex digyna L. • NH; northern portion of state. Alpine gullies, ravines, 
and brooksides.