The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Rheum compactum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of some if not all members of this genus contain significant quantities of oxalic acid and should not be eaten in any quantity. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals in the body, especially calcium, leading to nutritional deficiency. The content of oxalic acid will be reduced if the plant is cooked. 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[
E. Asia - China.
Banks of rivers and brooks, valleys and slopes[
]. Slopes at elevations around 2000 metres in Tibet[
Prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils.
Hardy to about -20°c[
Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Leaf stem - cooked[
]. A tart flavour, it can be used as a rhubarb substitute[
Seed - best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame[
]. 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[
]. 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.