Rheum nobile will stagger your eyes with it’s noble towers.
Bizarre giant rhubarb towers
Rheum nobile is actually a bizarre relative of rhubarb, and cousin of buckwheat too.
So it is also known as “Sikkim Rhubarb” as well as “Glasshouse Plant”.
“Glasshouse Plant” because the noble towers are actually formed of translucent bracts which can soar up to 1.6 to 2 metres.
So the bracts form a protective, safe environment covering the delicate flowers and seeds beneath.
Thus acting like mini glasshouses, and a cosy home for the tiny gnats that live in there and do all the pollination work.
The most unusual ever edible
Rheum nobile towers are edible, and are relished by the locals.
With the stems cooked like rhubarb, and also yielding a valuable liquid. (Stems should always be cooked to reduce the oxalic acid content before eating).
So Rheum nobile could likely be the most majestic, and truly unusual, vegetable you could ever grow in your patch.
However note the leaves are NOT edible.
Frost & wind hardy
Rheum nobile is native to rocky slopes in Afghanistan, Sikkim, Pakistan, India, Myanmar etc.
But you don’t need to live in the Himalaya to grow it.
It loves Full Sun; requires only minimal to average garden watering; enjoys a wide range of soils from sandy or rocky, to loam and clay; though it does enjoy plenty of compost as well as perfect drainage with its roots amongst gravel; plus it is wind hardy.
It is also frost hardy down to approx. -15C, as well as tolerant of summer humidity.
A vegetable to brag about
This is a vegetable to brag about, open a face book account for, and simply marvel at.
Rheum nobile forms a perennial clump.
Up to 2m. High towers x 60cm Wide attractive broad foliage clump.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Seeds of Rheum nobile can be sown in spring and autumn indoors.
INDOORS: First soak the seeds overnight in a glass of water.
Then sow on the surface of good quality seed raising mix in deeper pots.
And gently pat the surface to ensure good contact
Now barely cover the seeds with sieved mix. Because these seeds need light to germinate.
Now thoroughly moisten the punnet by standing it in a shallow water bath and allowing the moisture to percolate to the surface from below.
Then place in a warm, well-lit position (not in direct sun).
Temperatures of approx. 20C are ideal for rapid and optimum germination.
Seeds begin to germinate in approx. 7-28 days.
SEED COUNT: 2 seeds per packet (Seed for this highly unusual plant are scarce. Wildly expensive but worth it).
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