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Useful Temperate Plants

Rheum spiciforme

Royle

Polygonaceae

+ Synonyms

Rheum aplostachyum Kar. & Kir.

Rheum crassinervium Fisch. ex Lindl.

Rheum cuneatum Regel & Herder

Rheum reticulatum Losinsk.

Rheum rhizostachyum Schrenk

Rheum scaberrimum Lingelsh.

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Rheum spiciforme is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a stout, woody, rhizomatous rootstock; it produces a basal clump of leaves around 10 - 20cm long and 8 - 15cm wide on stout petioles that are around 3 - 10 cm long; the plant flowers in the summer, producing flowering stems around 30cm 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.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It has very similar medicinal properties to the Himalayan Rhubarb (Rheum australe) and is harvested in quantity and mixed with that species in trade[
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
 
].

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.
,
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

Asia - Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, east to western China (Xinjiang, Tibet and Qinghai), Nepal and northeast India

Habitat

Shrubberies and open slopes in drier areas only; at elevations from 3,600 - 4,800 metres.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.30 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Rheum spiciforme 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 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[
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.
,
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.
].

Medicinal

The root is used as a purgative[
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.
].

This species has very similar properties to the Himalayan Rhubarb (Rheum australe) and is commonly mixed with that species in trade[
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
 
]. The main properties of Rheum australe are:-
The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
37
Title
The Gardener's Assistant.
Publication
 
Author
Thompson. B.
Publisher
Blackie and Son.
Year
1878
ISBN
-
Description
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
,
57
Title
Plants for Man.
Publication
 
Author
Schery. R. W.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
,
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.
,
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.
,
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
 
]. The roots contain tannins and, taken in small doses acts as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, relieving diarrhoea. At larger doses, however, the anthraquinones in the root exert their influence as a mild laxative and are a gentle treatment for constipation[
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.
,
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
 
]. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhoea, liver and gall bladder complaints, blood disorders, haemorrhoids, menstrual problems, sore throats and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins[
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.
,
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
 
]. When taken internally, the root imparts a deep tinge to the urine[
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
 
].
Applied externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns[
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.
]. A paste of the rootstock is used in treating scabies and other skin diseases[
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 other herbs, the paste is applied to fix fractured bones, swellings, sprains etc[
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
 
].

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. 2023-02-06. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Rheum+spiciforme>

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