The Q&A Archives: Hairy Rhubarb

Question: What kind of rhubarb has hairy stalks? We got it from a new friend that had it growing in their back yard when they bought the house. They never harvest it. My husband said it doesn't even taste like rhubarb. They appear to have really short hairs on 2 to 3 foot long stalks that are greenish red. The leaves are large and have red veins.

Answer: What you're describing is ornamental rhubarb (Rheum). The stalks are not edible (although they're not toxic if consumed). Don't harvest the stalks - allow this perennial plant to grow into a mound of lovely leaves. It should producing flower stalks if given full sunshine, rich soil and ample water.

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