Abstract. Submergence stimulates growth of the petioles of Rumex palustris and Rumex crispus under field, greenhouse and laboratory conditions. Growth of Rumex acetosa petioles was hardly influenced by submergence. These growth responses under flooded conditions can be partially mimicked by exposing non-submerged Rumex plants to ethylene-air mixtures. Submergence of intact plants in a solution of AgNO3 inhibited the elongation of all petioles of R. palustris and the youngest petiole of R. crispus and stimulated growth of the youngest petiole of R. acetosa, The ethylene-air mixture experiments, the effect of AgNO3 and observed increase of the endogenous ethylene concentration during submergence suggest that ethylene plays a regulatory role in the growth responses of these Rumex species under submerged conditions. The three Rumex species showed a gradient in elongation responses to submergence, which correlates with the field distribution of the three species in a flooding gradient.