Good Organic Gardening


Rhubarb label

Common name: Rhubarb

Botanical name: Rheum x hybridum

Family: Polygonaceae

Aspect & soil: Sun to afternoon shade; deep, well-drained fertile soil

Best climate: Cool to subtropical

Habit: Perennial vegetable

Propagation: Crowns, potted plants

Difficulty: Easy

Just about everyone knows not to eat rhubarb leaves. It’s one of those pieces of folklore passed down from generation to generation.

It’s the long stalks of these large, luxuriant vegetables that you eat. Simply cut or break off the leafy tops — this removes a toxin called oxalic acid, which is present in the leaves but not the stalks.

Discarded leaves can be added to the compost but should not be fed to animals such as stock or chickens.

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