Use sorrel with caution
Basically, the young leaves of sorrel, raw or cooked, are a savory wild herb delicacy with a fine acidity. Consumption becomes problematic from mid-June, when the leaves begin to turn red. This indicates an increasing content of potassium hydrogen oxalate in the leaves, which is converted to oxalic acid in the human body and can lead to cramps, diarrhea and organ damage. Since grazing cattle usually spurn the plants for this reason, sorrel is fought by many farmers in the forage meadows. Children and adolescents should only consume dishes containing sorrel in limited quantities, otherwise symptoms of poisoning may occur. However, scalding or boiling can greatly reduce the effects of the ingredients in the leaves.
- The sorrel: season and use
- Sorrel: time and importance of flowering
- The perfect location for the sorrel
Confusion within the dock family
Within the botanical family of dock, it can be confused with other dock species. Krauser Ampfer (Rumex crispus) and Little Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) offer a certain potential for intolerance and poisoning, depending on the respective location. These can only be distinguished from the great sorrel (Rumex acetosa) by carefully examining the following criteria:
- Leaf shape and appearance
- Flower color
Confusion with the Aaron's staff
It is possible to confuse the Aaron's staff with the sorrel due to the very similarly shaped and colored leaves. However, if you take a closer look you can see that the sorrel leaves are pointed at the lower end of the leaf blade. In contrast, the leaves of the ruler are evenly rounded in this area. In addition, the poisonous leaves of the Aaron's staff reveal themselves when the tongue is touched lightly through a stinging pain caused by the many small needles in the sap of the plant. For security reasons, however, you should not try this yourself.
Tips & Tricks
To be sure when differentiating between sorrel and Aaron's staff, you can wait for the inflorescences of both types of plants in spring. While the Aaron's staff develops its characteristic flowers close to the ground, the panicle-shaped, reddish sorrel flowers grow up to a meter high.