Like so many other perennial weeds, curly dock first reveals itself as a rosette, then rises up as a towering, magnificent bastard. Check out this one, already taller than my rain barrel. Supposedly it’s edible, but I never find them before they’ve already turned bitter. Slugs are more likely to eat it.
You can distingush this from other docks by the way its leaves curl at the edges.
But the real warning sign comes when the flower stalks rise up. Lots of dense little non-descript flower pack together, waiting not for any bees or insects, but the wind. If you ignore that warning, they ripen to lots of dark brown seeds that scatter everywhere and lie in wait for years. So dig it up, getting as much of the dense orangey tap root as you can; it will resprout from the root.
Because if you miss even one — it’s a real bastard.