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

Rheum nobile

Hook.f. & Thomson

Polygonaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Sikkim Rhubarb

No Image.

General Information

Rheum nobile is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a stout, woody, rhizomatous rootstock; it produces a basal clump of leaves around 20 - 30cm in diameter on stout petioles that are around 5 - 20cm long; the plant flowers in the summer, producing stout, unbranched flowering stems around 100 - 200cm tall[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is sold for medicinal use in local markets according to one report[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
], though another says that the roots resemble those of Rheum australe, but are spongy and inert[
2022
Title
Indian Medicinal Plants; An Illustrated Dictionary
Publication
 
Author
Khare C.P. (Ed.)
Publisher
Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-387-70637-5
Description
 
]. It is grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its large flowering spikes[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].

Known Hazards

The plant, but especially the leaf blades, contains several toxic compounds, particularly anthraquinone glycosides, but also soluble oxalates and calcium oxylate crystals[
34
Title
The Oxford Book of Food Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Harrison. S. Wallis. M. Masefield. G.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1975
ISBN
-
Description
Good drawings of some of the more common food plants from around the world. Not much information though.
,
76
Title
Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man.
Publication
 
Author
Cooper. M. and Johnson. A.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1984
ISBN
0112425291
Description
Concentrates mainly on the effects of poisonous plants to livestock.
,
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
]. At lower doses these can cause abdominal cramps, burning of the mouth and throat, headache, weakness, nausea and vomiting. In larger, quantities it can lead to coma and death, though generally very large quantities need to be eaten for the plant to be fatal.
The leaf stems (petioles) have much lower quantities of toxins and, in several Rheum species are a commonly eaten food. The main caution here are the levels of oxalates. These can lock up certain minerals (especially calcium) in the body, leading to nutritional deficiency. Cooking the plant will reduce the concentration of oxalic acid. 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
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Botanical References

51
Title
Flowers of the Himalayas.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Stainton. A.
Publisher
Oxford Universtiy Press
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable and good pocket guide (if you have a very large pocket!) to many of the wild plants in the Himalayas. Gives many examples of plant uses.
,
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.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

E. Asia - Himalayan regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Tibet and northern Myanmar

Habitat

Rock ledges; at elevations around 4,000 metres[
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.
]. Open alpine grassy and rocky slopes, morainic deposits; at elevations around 3,600 - 5,000 metres[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Rheum nobile is a moderately cold-hardy plant, tolerating winter temperatures that can fall to about -20°c[
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.
].
Rheum species generally prefer a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[
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.
]. They grow well along the woodland edge or amongst large shrubs[
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.
]. They succeed in heavy clay soils.
Plants have proved very difficult to grow in cultivation in Britain[
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.
].
Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
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.
].
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
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.
].

Edible Uses

Leaf stem - raw or cooked[
51
Title
Flowers of the Himalayas.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Stainton. A.
Publisher
Oxford Universtiy Press
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable and good pocket guide (if you have a very large pocket!) to many of the wild plants in the Himalayas. Gives many examples of plant uses.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. Used to make pickles[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
]. Pleasantly acid, this is a commonly used vegetable where it grows wild[
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.
,
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.
].

The young flowering stem is cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

Medicinal

One report says that the roots resemble those of Rheum emodi, but are spongy and inert[
2022
Title
Indian Medicinal Plants; An Illustrated Dictionary
Publication
 
Author
Khare C.P. (Ed.)
Publisher
Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-387-70637-5
Description
 
]. Other reports, below, say that the plant is commonly used for medicinal purposes..

The root is astringent, carminative, depurative, diuretic, purgative and tonic[
51
Title
Flowers of the Himalayas.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Stainton. A.
Publisher
Oxford Universtiy Press
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable and good pocket guide (if you have a very large pocket!) to many of the wild plants in the Himalayas. Gives many examples of plant uses.
,
91
Title
Alpine Plants of China.
Publication
 
Author
Zhang Jingwei.
Publisher
Gordon & Breach. New York.
Year
1982
ISBN
0-677-60190-5
Description
A lovely book with nice pictures. Gives habitats and some details of plant uses.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. Small doses act as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative[
232
Title
The Complete Homeopathy Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Castro. M.
Publisher
Macmillan. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-333-55581-3
Description
A concise beginner's guide to the subject. Very readable.
]. A decoction is used in the treatment of stomach and menstrual disorders[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
]. The root extract is also taken orally in cases of fracture and body pain[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].
The rootstocks used to make poultices to treat fractures. The rootstocks are boiled and made into a paste with a little flour along with traces of Tibetan salt, and the paste is applied to the fracture area[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
]. Combined with the rhizome of Bergenia ciliata, the roots are boiled then made into a paste that is applied externally in the treatment of bone fractures[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

The flowering stem is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have a sour taste and a heating potency[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
]. It is antiemetic, diuretic and laxative[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
]. It is used in the treatment of swellings and fullness of the abdomen as well as to rid the body of retained fluids[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame[
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.
]. 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
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
111
Title
Popular Hardy Perennials.
Publication
 
Author
Sanders. T. W.
Publisher
Collingridge
Year
1926
ISBN
-
Description
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
]. 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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2023-02-03. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Rheum+nobile>

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.