Skip to main content

This species is accepted, and its native range is Macaronesia, Medit. to Sahara & Sahel, Arabian Peninsula to Iran.


Polygonaceae, R. A. Graham. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1958

Very like the preceding (E. australis) in its ♂ flowers and vegetative characters, but markedly different in the fruiting perianth which is smaller, 5 mm. long and 4 mm. broad overall, narrowing upwards from a protruding rim shortly above the base.
Outer tepals deeply perforated with usually 6 small pits, in 2 longitudinal rows, above the rim. Inner tepals erect, lanceolate-muticous, without a terminal spiny arista.
Spines 1.5–2 mm. long, somewhat arcuately curved at the base and remaining a little reflexed or becoming horizontal.
Fig. 1/3, p. 2.
Waste ground, etc.; in general as for E. australis; ± 1560 m.
a weed of Mediterranean coastal countries, like the preceding introduced into our area. K4


M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008]

Plant glabrous with erect or ascending stems 15–50 cm long
Leaves c. 4–8 x 2–5 cm, ovate, subacute at the apex, truncate to subcordate at the base, petiolate
Male flowers in terminal and axillary pedunculate clusters
Female flowers axillary, sessile, in fruit with outer tepals ending in spreading to reflexed spines and inner tepals erect.
N2 Mediterranean region, SW Asia, also introduced elsewhere.
Altitude range 1150 m.
First record for Somalia (Madarshon at 11°02’N, 48°58’E).

Native to:

Algeria, Baleares, Canary Is., Cape Verde, Chad, Cyprus, East Aegean Is., Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Greece, Gulf States, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kriti, Kuwait, Lebanon-Syria, Libya, Madeira, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Palestine, Portugal, Sardegna, Saudi Arabia, Selvagens, Sicilia, Sinai, Socotra, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Western Sahara, Yemen

Extinct in:


Introduced into:

Argentina Northeast, Ascension, Azores, California, Chile Central, Ecuador, Florida, Hawaii, India, Kenya, Massachusetts, Mauritius, New Jersey, Pakistan, Peru, Queensland, South Australia, Texas, Uruguay, Victoria, Western Australia

Rumex spinosus L. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Sp. Pl.: 337 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Schuster, T.M., Reveal, J.L., Bayly, M.J. & Kron, K.A. (2015). An updated molecular phylogeny of Polygonoideae (Polygonaceae): relationships of Oxygonum, Pteroxygonum, and Rumex, and a new circumscription of Koenigia Taxon 64: 1188-1208.

Not accepted by

  • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2013). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 5: 1-451. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève. [Cited as Emex spinosa.]


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Ghazanfar, S.A. & Edmandson, J.R. (eds.) (2016). Flora of Iraq 5(1): 1-284. Ministry of Agriculture & Agrarian Reform, Baghdad.
  • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Llewellyn, O.A., Hall, M., Miller, A.G., Al-Abbasi, T.M., Al-Wetaid, A.H., Al-Harbi, R.J. & Al-Shammari, K.F. (2011). Important plant areas in the Arabian peninsula: 4. Jabal Aja Edinburgh Journal of Botany 68: 199-224.
  • Authier, P. & Covillot, J. (2011). Catalogue actualisé des plantes de l'île de Rhodes (Grèce) Saussurea; Travaux de la Société Botanique de Genève 41: 131-170.
  • Zuloaga, F.O., Morrone, O. , Belgrano, M.J., Marticorena, C. & Marchesi, E. (eds.) (2008). Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 107: 1-3348. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Boulos, L. (1999). Flora of Egypt 1: 1-419. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo.
  • Wood, J.R.I. (1997). A handbook of the Yemen Flora: 1-434. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1993). Flora Europaea ed. 2, 1: 1-581. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ghazanfar, S.A. (1992). An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Oman and their Vernacular names Scripta Botanica Belgica 2: 1-153.
  • Boudet, G., Lebrun, J.P. & Demange, R. (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali: 1-465. Etudes d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux.
  • Packer, J.E. (1974). Ascension Handbook. A concise guide to Ascension Island South Atlantic ed. 2 Packer, Georgetown.

Flora of Somalia
Flora of Somalia

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew