Now back to the terrestrial…

Giant Rhubarbs Gunnera sp

Large, clump-forming perennials with stout horizontal stems known as rhizomes, massive umbrella-sized leaves and stems up to 2 m tall. Over winter the plant dies down but grows new leaves in spring. Two species are found in the UK: Giant-rhubarb (also known as Chilean giant-rhubarb) Gunnera tinctoria and Brazilian giant-rhubarb Gunnera manicata.  

ID features

They are native to South America and introduced to the UK as ornamental plants.  In areas where they are long established they have naturalised and spread and can be found scattered at locations throughout much of lowland UK.  Once established, they can be very invasive and form dense colonies which suppresses native plants as their large leaves prevent other plants from establishing.  They can also impede water flow if obstructing drainage ditches etc.

Large ornamental plant popular in gardens. Photo RPS

Again a species to BE PLANT WISE about and keep an eye on it especially when planted next a water course/drainage ditch etc. that connects to a main river or sensitive woodland site.

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