Turkey Rhubarb

(Also known as Rambling Dock)

Acetosa sagittata

Family: Polygonaceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s): ,

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , ,


A vigorous prostrate and climbing perennial herb. It can grow to 5m long. The plant produces chains of underground tubers.

Leaves are a distinctive bright green with an arrow-head shape.

Flowers are arranged in branching clusters. The plant flowers in spring. Flowers change from green-cream in colour to red.

The cream-coloured paper-like fruit is three-winged and turn brown with age. Each wing contains one seed.


Seed is spread by wind and water. It also spreads in dumped garden waste and contaminated soil.

Impact on bushland

Plants produce thousands of seeds that germinate under native vegetation. As the plant grows it smothers the supporting plant. Turkey Rhubarb will regenerate from tubers if top growth is removed.


Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana)
  • Water Vine (Cissus antarctica)
  • Old Man’s Beard (Clematis aristata)
    NB: not Clematis cultivars; these can also be environmental weeds.

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


  • Remove flowers, fruit, pods or seeds
  • Manually remove bulbs, corms and tubers
  • Spray
  • Scrape and paint

Manual control

Manual removal

Move leaf litter away from base of plant. Dig down next to the stem until the bulb or tuber is reached. Remove plant and carefully bag the bulb or tuber.

Remove seeds, pods or fruit

Gently remove any seeds, pods or fruit and carefully place in a bag.

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate.


Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.

Extra considerations for weeds with underground reproductive structures
  • Further digging may be required for plants with more than one tuber. Some bulbs may have small bulbils attached or present in the soil around them. These need to be removed. It may be quicker and more effective to dig weeds out.
  • Learn and understand how the herbicide works. For bulb and corm species the most effective time is after flowering and before fruit has set.

Scrape and paint

Using knife to scrape long gashes along stem
Scrape bark/outer layer away with a knife

With a knife, scrape up to a metre of the stem to reach the layer below the bark/outer layer. Immediately apply herbicide along the length of the scrape.


  • A maximum of half the stem diameter should be scraped. Do not ringbark.
  • Larger stems (over 1 cm in diameter) should have two scrapes opposite each other.

Specific control tips for this weed

Control involves stopping seed production. Pull off flower heads and bag.

All control technques will require regular follow-up to eliminate this weed.

  • Dig out tubers in areas where erosion will not be a problem.
  • Scrape and paint stems with herbicide. If spraying, ensure that total coverage of leaves with herbicide is achieved.

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.