Sore throat plant

DAY 117 (31 JULY) – Giant rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria) (Farnham)

The more I looked at this plant, the more repellent it became. The edge of it was draped over a suburban garden fence. Someone had chosen it for their garden.

At first, the leaves drew my attention – they are huge and not unattractive. But the other details: the spikes, red and green pustules and large red tangled mass between the spikes were like something you might visualise in a nightmare if you had a very bad sore throat.

Turns out it’s native to Chile and Argentina and was adopted around the world as an ornamental plant. Each to his own I suppose… But I was shocked that in Chile it’s used in a similar way to our European rhubarb – they eat the stalks fresh or cook them for jam. OMG. Can we trust Wikipedia on this one?

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