Brazilian Giant-rhubarb - Gunnera manicata

Description

A large, clump-forming plant growing to 2.5 metres by 4 metres or more. The leaves of G. manicata grow to an impressive size. Leaves with diameters well in excess of 120 cm are commonplace. 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. It is quite similar to some other Gunneraceae, but has distinctive reddish bristles and spines.

Similar Species

Gunnera tinctoria is quite similar but has more rounded, deeply lobed leaves than G. manicata, while its leaf stalks are shorter. The flowering spike of G. tinctoria is shorter and its individual spikes smaller and less open than those of G. manicata.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Good quality photos required showing close up of reddish bristles and spines.

Habitat

Usually found as an escape from cultivation, this plant grows best in damp conditions, often near to ponds or streams.

When to see it

Late spring to autumn.

Life History

Herbaceous perennial.

UK Status

There are quite a number of records for this species having escaped into the wild, mainly on the western side of Britain.

VC55 Status

Rarely recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland away from cultivation.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map