Rumex sagittatus

Climbing dock

Also known as:

Creeping dock, rambling dock

Family: Polygonaceae

Origin: South Africa

Close up of climbing dock leaves.
It prevents the establishment of native plant seedlings.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Scrambling perennial herbaceous vine < 4 m long. Tubers are brown, woody and beet-like, bearing long, weak rhizomes. Leaves are < 8 x 6 cm, green and arrow-shaped, with pointed basal lobes facing downwards.

Flowers are small, green/pink and formed in clusters at the top of the plant in November – March. Fruit is yellow/pink/red and heart-shaped. Seeds are papery and triple winged.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell climbing dock within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant climbing dock within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any climbing dock on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Wasteland, bush and shrubland margins, coast, riparian margins, open areas, disturbed sites, hedgerows.


Sets seed. Vegetative spread from tubers and rhizomes. Seeds and vegetative propagules dispersed by wind, water and soil movement.

Impact on environment

Smothers native vegetation and prevents seedling establishment.


Site Management

Cut and pull vines away from desirable trees and native plants before foliar spraying. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Rot tubers, rhizomes, stems and seeds in covered water barrel or remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Basic Growsafe certified: Foliar spray vines on the ground with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray vines on the ground with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of clusters of pinkish flowers of climbing dock.
The flowers are small, green/pink and form in clusters.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
A wall of climbing dock.
Climbing dock forms thick mats smothering native vegetation.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Close up of pointed leaves of climbing dock.
The leaves are arrowhead shaped.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow