Gunnera perpensa

Gunnera perpensa
Common name: Wild Rhubarb; Afrikaans: Rivierpampoen;  Sotho: qobo; Xhosa: iphuzi lomlambo, ighobo; Zulu: ugobhe, ugobho

Gunnera perpensa is a perennial wetland plant which grows in shallow water and along streams throughout Southern Africa. The roots are thick to secure it in the muddy soil and the large, tufted, kidney shaped leaves all grow from a central point. The reddish brown flowers are borne on a long slender spike, which grows above the leaves. Each inflorescence has female flowers at the base, male flowers at the top and bisexual flowers in the middle. It cannot tolerate frost and dies back during winter.    

Gunnera belongs to one of the oldest plant families and is thought to have been on Earth for 95 million years. It has an unusual symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae. 

The stems can be peeled and eaten raw or used to make beer. In traditional medicine, a decoction of root is used remove excess fluid from the body or excess blood, to ease childbirth and assist in the expulsion of placenta in cattle and humans.


Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower