If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Temperate Plants

Gunnera tinctoria

(Molina) Mirb.

Gunneraceae


Gunnera tinctoria may easily be confused with the closely related Brazilian species Gunnera manicata Linden ex Delchev. Very similar to look at, Gunnera manicata is somewhat larger than its Chilean relation and often forms a rather larger clump[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].

+ Synonyms

Gunnera chilensis Lam.

Gunnera commutata Blume

Gunnera rheifolia Schindl.

Gunnera scabra Ruiz & Pav.

Gunnera vestita Schindl.

Panke acaulis Molina

Panke caulescens J.F.Gmel.

Panke tinctoria Molina

Pankea chilensis (Lam.) Oerst.

Common Name: Gunnera

No Image.

General Information

Gunnera tinctoria is a herbaceous, perennial plant forming a cluster of large leaves on long prickly petioles and looking rather like a giant rhubarb plant. Growing from a large, woody rootstock, the petioles can be 200cm or more tall in good conditions surmounted by a large, somewhat thorny leaf that can be 150cm or more wide. The plant spreads (usually quite slowly) by short rhizomes to form a large clump.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. A popular food in Chile, where it is known as 'nalcas', the plant is commonly harvested from the wild and often sold in local markets[
1922
Title
Gunneraceae
Publication
Flora Neotropica Monograph 109
Author
Mora-Osejo L.E., Pabón-Mora N. & González F.
Publisher
The New York Botanical Garden Press; New York
Year
2011
ISBN
978-0-89327-508-2
Description
 
]. The plant is widely grown as an ornamental in gardens, where it can be used as an effective ground cover.
Gunnera tinctoria is widely planted as an ornamental in gardens and parks. Especially in regions with moist climates and mild winters, the plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalized to form dense monospecific stands that shade out other plants - large stands have been produced on the west coast of Ireland, southwest England, the west coast of Scotland, the Azores, the coast of California and New Zealand where dense local infestations are found on coastal cliffs. It can spread from rhizomes discarded from gardens and from seed disseminated by birds and is a threat to native vegetation. Its sale and further cultivation is now prohibited in Ireland and New Zealand where eradication programmes are underway[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - central and southern Chile to southwest Argentina.

Habitat

Forest margins adjacent to wetland areas, stream-sides and, particularly, on bluffs and talus slopes[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. Moist soils by lakes and rivers of the Central Provinces[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Wind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Gunnera tinctoria is fairly cold tolerant, especially if a thick mulch is applied to the rootstock whilst the plant is dormant. Unprotected, the roots will generally survive occasional temperatures falling as low as -10°c, somewhat lower with protection. The young growth in spring, however, can be damaged by late frosts[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Requires a damp humus rich soil in a sunny position or semi-shade, sheltered from strong winds. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].
The top part of the inflorescence is male, the bottom is female and the middle is hermaphrodite.
A very ornamental plant with huge leaves, it forms a slowly spreading dense clump[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
].
The genus Gunnera is unique in the plant kingdom by acquiring nitrogen through symbiosis with the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium, Nostoc punctiforme. The structurally unique stem glands of Gunnera function as the conduit through which cyanobacteria infect the host. As the genus Nostoc is cosmopolitan and common, it is likely to be present in the wet habitats in which Gunnera grows[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Young leaf stalks - peeled and cooked as a vegetable or eaten raw[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
,
1438
Title
Food Plants in the Americas: A Survey of the Domesticated, Cultivated, and Wild Plants Used for Human Food in North,
Publication
 
Author
Kermath B.M.; Bennett B.C.' Pulsipher L.M.
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
 
Description
A pre-publication draft of an amazing, on-going work first started in 1985. It contains information on more than 3,900 taxa from the Americas - from Arctic regions to the Tropics
]. Acid and refreshing[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
]. An agreeable, bitter-sweet, refreshing taste[
487
Title
Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported Vol. 21
Publication
USDA Bureau of Plant Industry - Bulletin No. 205
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
USDA Government Printing Office; Washington DC.
Year
1911
ISBN
 
Description
Details of seeds imported for trials by the United States Department of Agriculture in the last quarter of 1909, often detailing the uses of the plant and various other miscellaneous information. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
1922
Title
Gunneraceae
Publication
Flora Neotropica Monograph 109
Author
Mora-Osejo L.E., Pabón-Mora N. & González F.
Publisher
The New York Botanical Garden Press; New York
Year
2011
ISBN
978-0-89327-508-2
Description
 
].

Medicinal

The whole plant is rich in tannins and is used as an astringent[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
1185
Title
Los nombres vulgares de las Plants Silvestres de Chile i su concordancia con los nombres cientificos
Publication
Annales de la Universidad Tomo 147, Ano 78
Author
Victor Manuel Baeza
Publisher
 
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
A list of Chilean common names, listing the botanical name, a brief description and, often, a list of uses.
]. A decoction of the hard roots is used as a treatment for diarrhoea[
487
Title
Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported Vol. 21
Publication
USDA Bureau of Plant Industry - Bulletin No. 205
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
USDA Government Printing Office; Washington DC.
Year
1911
ISBN
 
Description
Details of seeds imported for trials by the United States Department of Agriculture in the last quarter of 1909, often detailing the uses of the plant and various other miscellaneous information. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Gunnera species have a high potential for use in the recovery of lands affected by erosion, given their condition as colonizing plants that are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen through symbiosis with the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiform[
1922
Title
Gunneraceae
Publication
Flora Neotropica Monograph 109
Author
Mora-Osejo L.E., Pabón-Mora N. & González F.
Publisher
The New York Botanical Garden Press; New York
Year
2011
ISBN
978-0-89327-508-2
Description
 
].

Other Uses

A black dye is obtained from the root[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
]. Only a small amount of juice can be obtained from the hard root, but the dye is of very good quality and permanent[
487
Title
Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported Vol. 21
Publication
USDA Bureau of Plant Industry - Bulletin No. 205
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
USDA Government Printing Office; Washington DC.
Year
1911
ISBN
 
Description
Details of seeds imported for trials by the United States Department of Agriculture in the last quarter of 1909, often detailing the uses of the plant and various other miscellaneous information. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The root contains 9% tannin[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
].

Leaves are used as a roof covering[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a sandy mix in a cold frame. The seed can also be sown in a shady position in a greenhouse in the spring. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 8 weeks at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division as new growth commences in the spring. The clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-09-30. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Gunnera+tinctoria>

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.