Herb: Tartarian Rhubarb

Latin name: Rheum tataricum

Synonyms: Rheum caspicum

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Edible parts of Tartarian Rhubarb:

Leaf stem - cooked. An acid flavour, it can be used as a fruit substitute in tarts etc. Unexpanded flower clusters. No further details are given.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Dry open places. Grasslands and deserts in Tibet.

Propagation of Tartarian Rhubarb:

Seed - best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn. Divide up the rootstock with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry open places. Grasslands and deserts in Tibet.

Medicinal use of Tartarian Rhubarb:

None known

Known hazards of Rheum tataricum:

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of some if not all members of this genus contain significant quantities of oxalic acid and should not be eaten in any quantity. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals in the body, especially calcium, leading to nutritional deficiency. The content of oxalic acid will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.