Canaigre dock (Rumex hymenosepalus, Polygonaceae) is a rather unique plant that is native to the southwest United States and northern Mexico. This member of the buckwheat family can be found growing in sandy soil at lower elevations, and is well-adapted to the dry climate. The large, waxy leaves help collect the limited rainfall and direct it toward the plant’s tuber-like roots. This perennial also features thick and fleshy stems and dense clusters of small, six-parted flowers. The stems and flowers can range from green to red, and the flowers give way to red or brown seed pods.
Also known as wild rhubarb, this plant has had a number of uses throughout history. The tissues are rich in tannin that is used for tanning leather, and it can be made into several colors of dyes. The young leaves are edible and may have been used as food by Ancestral Pueblo peoples, and other parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicine.