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Rheum rhaponticum - L.

Common Name Rhubarb, Garden rhubarb
Family Polygonaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards The leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid[34, 76]. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals (especially calcium) in the body, leading to nutritional deficiency. Cooking the plant will reduce the concentration of oxalic acid. Another report says that the leaves have the same concentration of oxalic acid in the stems as they do in the leaves and it is not the oxalic acid that makes them poisonous. It says that any toxic properties of the leaves is more likely to be due to the presence of glycosides[142]. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats Wet mountain rocks in Europe[50].
Range Europe to E. Asia - Siberia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Rheum rhaponticum Rhubarb, Garden rhubarb


Rheum rhaponticum Rhubarb, Garden rhubarb

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Rheum rhaponticum is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Stem
Edible Uses:

Leaf stem - raw or cooked[1, 2, 103]. An acid flavour, they are used as a fruit substitute in tarts etc[2]. The young flower pouch, harvested before the flowers open, is said to form a dish of great delicacy[2].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Purgative  Stomachic

Rhubarb has a long and proven history of herbal usage, its main effect being a positive and balancing effect upon the whole digestive system. It is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine[238]. The main species used is R. palmatum. Though the chemistry varies slightly, this species is used interchangeably[238]. Another report says that this species contains only small quantities of the medicinally active compounds and so it is only used as a mild laxative[244]. The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic[4, 37, 57, 61, 171, 238]. Small doses act as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative[232]. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhoea, liver and gall bladder complaints, haemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins[238]. This remedy is not prescribed for pregnant or lactating women, nor for patients with intestinal obstruction[238]. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns[238]. The roots are harvested in October from plants that are at least six years old, they are then dried for later use[4]. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the dried root[232]. This is used especially in the treatment of diarrhoea in teething children[232].

References

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 1.8 metres apart each way[208].

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Ground cover

References

Cultivation details

Prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[200]. Shade tolerant[15], but plants prefer a sunny position[37]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to at least -20°c[200]. This species is probably a parent of the cultivated rhubarb, R. x cultorum[200]. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200].

References

Temperature Converter

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame[200]. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn[1, 111]. Divide up the rootstock with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Jeffersonia diphyllaTwinleaf, Rheumatism RootPerennial0.2 5-8 SLMFSM02 
Rheum × hybridumGarden RhubarbPerennial1.5 3-8 MLMHSNM431
Rheum australeHimalayan RhubarbPerennial3.0 5-9  MHSNM332
Rheum compactum Perennial0.5 5-9  MHSNM20 
Rheum coreanum Perennial0.0 -  MHSNM01 
Rheum nobileSikkim RhubarbPerennial1.5 6-9  MHSNM321
Rheum officinaleChinese RhubarbPerennial2.0 6-9  MHSNM13 
Rheum palmatumTurkey Rhubarb, Chinese Rhubarb - Da Huang, Chinese rhubarbPerennial3.0 6-9  MHSNM352
Rheum palmatum tanguticumDa HuangPerennial2.0 5-9  MHSNM350
Rheum ribes Perennial1.5 5-9  MHSNDM20 
Rheum spiciforme Perennial0.3 -  MHSNM21 
Rheum tataricumTartarian RhubarbPerennial0.5 -  MHSNDM20 
Rheum x cultorumRhubarbPerennial1.5 3-7  MHSNM432

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Botanical References

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