Common Sorrel, or Garden Sorrel, is often just called Sorrel, and is even more common than its close relation Sheep’s Sorrel. A clump forming perennial, it grows in grassland, hedge banks and woodland clearings and is distinguished by a much broader leaf-shape than that of Sheep’s Sorrel.
It has lance-shaped, or oval leaves that curl at the edges, and grow to 15cm long, with downward pointing basal lobes, and upper leaves growing almost parallel to the stem.
The flower spikes are broader than Sheep’s Sorrel. They are all in fruit by August at which point the plant turns crimson.
This wild Sorrel variety has been cultivated to produce several kinds of salad leaf, but the original has a sour flavour, similar to lemon. Historically it was gathered from grasslands and used in cooking, to add colour and flavour to soups. Children would eat it straight from the ground.
Like Sheep’s Sorrel this herbaceous plant has a deep tap root that grows down to 2 feet, and can be an invasive weed.