Chilean Prickly Rhubarb
Chilean Prickly Rhubarb
Gunnera tinctoriaItem #3320 USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 - 9
Enormous, puckered leaves of this tropical looking, prehistoric plant emerge in spring, reaching six feet across or more, creating a dramatic waterside or greenhouse specimen. In late spring, a robust stalk bearing brownish-bronze inflorescence adds to the exotic appeal. Evergreen in frost-free areas.
- DetailPlant type:PerennialDeciduous/evergreen:DeciduousGrowth habit:RoundGrowth rate:FastAverage landscape size:Huge leaves form a fast-growing clump 8 ft. tall and wide.Special features:Year-round InterestFoliage color:GreenBlooms:SummerFlower color:GreenFlower attributesShowy FlowersDesign IdeasThe large, dramatic foliage makes a spectacular focal point for a tropical or eclectic garden, where it adds an exotic, primeval look. Place at the edge of ponds, streams, or in a boggy part of the garden where little else will grow, and where it's large leaves will add exceptional texture and proportion.
- CareCare InformationPrefers rich, well-drained soil and cool summer climates. Water regularly to maintain damp soil. Prune to six inches from ground annually to rejuvenate; use care to avoid spines. Protect the crown with pruned leaf stalks or mulch before thread of frost, to protect through winter. Feed with a controlled release fertilizer when new growth begins in spring.Light Needs:Partial shade to partial sunWatering Needs:Needs wet or constantly moist soil.
- History & LoreHistory:A native of the cloud forests of Central and South America, specifically southern Chile and neighboring zones in Argentina. Brought to Monrovia by plant explorer Dan Hinkley, collected in Chile.Lore:In it's native cloud forest habitat, Gunnera tinctoria takes root nearly anywhere the soil has been disturbed. Its natural armor protects it from foraging animals. In South America, particularly Chile, the young leaf stalks are peeled and cooked or eaten raw. The taste is described as acidic and refreshing. Stems are also processed into preserves and liquor, and the juice is used as an astringent. Its roots are used as a black dye. The leaves are used to cover cooking pots and as roofing material in rural areas. Outside of South America, Gunnera tinctoria is primarily used as a distinctive landscape plant.