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Rheum x cultorum, Rhubarb - Glaskins Perpetual, untreated

£0.79

An English heirloom variety that produces greenish-red stems that can be harvested in its first year.

This variety has extra fine flavor and is bitter-free.Great for cooking delicious pies etc.

Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 1.8 metres apart each way.

The leaves can be simmered in hot water to make an insecticide.

The leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals (especially calcium) in the body, leading to nutritional deficiency. Cooking the plant will reduce the concentration of oxalic acid. Another report says that the leaves have the same concentration of oxalic acid in the stems as they do in the leaves and it is not the oxalic acid that makes them poisonous. It says that any toxic properties of the leaves is more likely to be due to the presence of glycosides. 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.

A very easily grown plant, tolerant of considerable neglect, it prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. It succeeds in most soils provided the drainage is good and will grow in the dappled shade of trees so long as there is sufficient side light. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates acid conditions but prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.

Plants are very cold hardy, tolerating temperatures down to at least -20°c. The plant does not like hot summers, however, and is likely to die in warmer climates. Rhubarb is a long-lived and almost indestructible perennial plant. It is often cultivated for its edible leaf stems, there are many named varieties. Most cultivars produce edible stems from spring to early summer, though 'Glaskin's Perpetual' can be harvested throughout the summer. By digging up the roots in the autumn and exposing them to frost, earlier growth will be initiated. These roots can then be transferred to a cold frame or other protected area where they will produce their edible stems in late winter. It is also possible to produce earlier crops outdoors by covering the plants with a layer of straw and an upturned bucket.

Edible uses

Leaf stem - raw or cooked. An acid taste, it is used as a fruit substitute in spring, usually stewed with sugar and used in pies, jams etc. The juice strained from stewed rhubarb can add colour and flavour to a fruit punch. It is best not to eat large quantities of the stems because of their oxalic acid content.

Immature flowers - cooked and used like cauliflower. One report says that the plant contains 0.7% rutin. It does not specify which part of the plant, though it is likely to be the leaves.

 http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Rheum_x_cultorum

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