Rheum × hybridum (unknown cultivar)

Alexis authored today’s entry:

Today’s photo of a young rhubarb plant is via Wikimedia Commons and was taken by Andrew aka polandeze@Flickr (original Flickr page). Thanks, Andrew!

The use of rhubarb can be traced back as early as 2700 BC in China, when the dried roots of Rheum officinale and Rheum palmatum were used as a laxative. The species Rheum rhabarbarum, native to Mongolia and surrounding regions, was first cultivated in England in 1573. Though initially cultivated for its medicinal properties, by the eighteenth century it had been subject to (additional?) hybridization, and the hybrid’s leaf stalks became a desirable food. All parts of the plant contain oxalic acid, and the leaves themselves are poisonous to people and animals if ingested in large amounts.

There are many cultivars of rhubarb, differing from each other by properties such as colour, size, and acidity level. Phillips & Rix’s Vegetables (1993) served as a valuable reference for this entry.

Rheum × hybridum (unknown cultivar)

13 responses to “Rheum × hybridum (unknown cultivar)”

  1. dori

    I use rhubarb leaves as a weed killer and weed preventer in plces in my garden where their unsightly appearance does not matter. They really do the job.

  2. phillip

    …my salivary glands just wetted themselves..!..grandpa Freeman had rhubarb growing all around his out building shed…every summer us cousins would be smacking on it..biting big crunchy chunks…and grandma Freeman would make rhubarb sauce for desert…almost half the volume sugar..

  3. Kate

    Oh, such a beautiful leaf! Fabulous color and texture.

  4. James Singer

    Excellant picture. Wonderful plant. Stewed rhubarb is the first thing I remember eating, about age two.

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    oh i love me rhubarb me also two for stewed and two is the correct age for ones first taste then pie and warm sauce over ice cream
    the list is endless – i honestly knew this plant before you told me
    i hope the readers of bot a day on the east coast of my usa are safe

  6. Michael Aman

    When I was about ten years old, someone gave my parents rhubarb plants, free for the digging, from an old country house that was being demolished. We kids rode home in the back of the pickup truck with the rhubarb plants. We liked to eat the tart stems. I continued to nibble from the stem to the large leaf veins, then to the leaf, just a little harmless experimenting, mind you. My sense of taste was obliterated and did not come back for a week.

  7. Elizabeth Revell

    I was in Mongolia a few years ago and kept spotting tiny rhubarb plants growing: eventually my French Canadian tentmate and I collected a whole lot of the juiciest stems we could find – none of them more than about 2 inches long! – and stewed up a tiny potful. There was enough for 6 of us to have about 1/2 a teaspoon each, and it tasted just exactly like the cultivar. Our Mongolian drivers and guide had never tasted it or even heard of it. One American in the group was convinced we were all going to die …

  8. kcflowers

    I use the plants as a hedge around my deck. Here in No. California, the stalks are growing and usable all year, except December. Many friends harvest stalks and the plants don’t mind at all.

  9. Irma in Sweden

    This picture translates into a moist cake full of rhubarbs and raspberries for colour and with a flavor of cardamonn. Here in Sweden it will be almost 9 months until I can cut from my own plant. But I have stored some in the freezer to be able to bring back the taste of summer during the dark winter months ahead.

  10. Paul Brown

    Take a look at the ‘rhubarb triangle’ on Wikipedia. It talks about the area of Yorkshire in the north of England where 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb is grown.

  11. Diana Ferguson

    Beautiful texture. Great post; thank you

  12. Claire Cerling-Hanson

    How absolutely beautiful! Excellent photo, and a personal favorite.

  13. crf

    I put a small raw stalk, cut up, into the microwave, and this sparked greatly, as if it were metal. Try it (carefully)!

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