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A picture of a Wild Rhubarb

Wild Rhubarb

Gunnera perpensa

Also known as

River Pumpkin, Wilde Ramenas, Rivierpampoen (Afr.), Qobo (Sotho), Uqobho (Swati), Rambola-vhadzimu, Shambola-vhadzimu (Venda), Iphuzi Lomlambo, Ighobo (Xhosa), Ugobhe, Ugobho (Zulu)

Partial Shade
Moderate care
Frequent watering
Tender

Expected size

Height
Spread

1m

Max

1m

80cm

Min

80cm

1 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Wild Rhubarb
A photo of Wild Rhubarb

Overview

The river pumpkin is a marsh-plant that can only grow in very wet sites. The leaves of this plant resemble those of a pumpkin, hence its common name. It is important to note that the plants will die back in the cold, winter months, even in the warmest of areas. The flower stalks and petioles as well as the leaf stems are edible and are consumed by native people across the world. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape.

Common problems

Generally not affected by pests and diseases.

    Companion plants

    Plant along side marsh plants and water lovers.

    Harvesting

    Pick leaves as needed.

    Propagation

    Rhizomes

    Break off a rhizome with eyes and soon a new leave will emerge.

    Division

    Divide the clumps as they grow thick.

    Special Features

    Wet sites

    Requires a wet, marshy site to grow. It is most commonly found in wetlands and along riverbanks.

    Attracts birds

    Birds feed on the fleshy, red berries.

    Uses

    Medicinal

    Indigenous people use the essence extracted from the roots to expel the placenta after birth and to relieve menstrual pains.

    Edible

    The petioles and flower stalks are eaten raw by the indigenous people of southern Africa. In South America, the native people eat the leaf stalks raw or cooked, similar to rhubarb.

    Other uses

    Medicinal