It is a large, clump-forming herbaceous perennial growing to 2.5 m (8 ft) tall by 4 m (13 ft) or more. The leaves of G. manicata grow to an impressive size. Leaves with diameters well in excess of 4 ft (122 cm) are commonplace, with a spread of 10 ft (3 m) by 10 ft (3 m) on a mature plant. The underside of the leaf and the whole stalk have spikes on them. In early summer it bears tiny red-green flowers in conical branched panicles, followed by small, spherical fruit. However, it is primarily cultivated for its massive leaves.
This plant grows best in damp conditions e.g. by the side of garden ponds, but dislikes winter cold and wet.
Despite the common name, this plant is not closely related to rhubarb and it is thought to be around 150 million years old. It was named after a Norwegian bishop and naturalist Johan Ernst Gunnerus, who also named and published a description about the basking shark.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "Gunnera manicata". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- Wanntorp, Livia; Wanntorp, Hans-Erik; Källersjö, Mari (2002-08-01). "The identity of Gunnera manicata Linden ex André - resolving a Brazilian-Colombian enigma". Taxon. 51 (3): 493–497.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "Gunnera manicata AGM". RHS Plant Finder. Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Mariotti, Kristiane de Cássia; Schuh, Roselena Silvestri; Matos Nunes, Jéssica de; Salamoni, Sabrina Pinto; Meirelles, Gabriela; Barreto, Fabiano; Von Poser, Gilsane Lino; Singer, Rodrigo Bustos; Dallegrave, Eliane; Van Der Sand, Sueli Teresinha; Limberger, Renata Pereira (Jan 2014). "Chemical constituents and pharmacological profile of Gunnera manicata L. extracts". Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 50 (1). Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- Gunnera manicata
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