Have you ever seen a plant and wondered if they were supposed to be purple? Or maybe your neighbor’s apple tree looks like a pine tree. Well, there’s no doubt these plants are looking like something they’re not. The same way some plants look like Rhubarb. They call them: rhubarbs! Though it sounds similar to the vegetable Rhubarb, this name is entirely different. Rhubarb is a vegetable. Rhubarbs means “rhubarb-like.” As in, it looks like rhubarb. Not that they are rhubarbs, but they are not something else entirely. We’ll discuss 7 plants that look like Rhubarb.
What is Rhubarb Exactly?
Rhubarb is a plant with red, leafy stalks that grow in clusters and can eat raw or cooked. The stalks were around long before we domesticated them and used them for food. In fact, the ancient Greeks ate the leaves of the rhubarbs to cure coughs and other ailments. Europe’s first settlers brought this plant to North America and used it in their cooking.
Today, in different ways rhubarb is still eaten. Whether fresh in a fruit salad, cooked in desserts like pies and crumbles, or even turned into wine.
The rhubarb plant is actually the root of the sorrel plant (Rumex acetosa), which grows wild in colder climates. Both outdoors or indoors environments are suitable for it. When plants are grown outdoors, they produce larger leaves and stalks. (and typically need to get protected from frost). Plants grown indoors will grow smaller but produce higher yields. The stalks and leaves of the plant are baneful. So it is important to wash all your produce before consuming it thoroughly.
History and Uses
Rhubarb currently use to treat digestive issues. Indigestion and heartburn can be treated with it. It is also very useful for asthma and hay fever. In place of medicine, people have been known to drink homemade sweet or sour brews of rhubarb. The blossoms are also edible but must be harvest from the plant before they reach full bloom. Rhubarb is also used to make various types of jams and candies. In Italy, the rhubarb plant is commonly distilled into a type of liquor called Ribaia. A popular fruit from Italy, Ribaia, is helpful as a dessert wine and a digestif.
Interesting Facts About Rhubarb:
It has been helpful exciting for centuries by the Greeks, who called it “the great medicine.” Ancient Romans ate it as a vegetable. Native Americans used it to treat kidney and bladder stones. The red part of the stem is poisonous; the leaves, roots, and green stems are not. It is a vegetable, not a fruit or a berry. Dwarf rhubarb, often called “pieplant,” are famous for small-space gardening.
Rhubarb is native to Siberia, so it does not tolerate frost well. Most varieties of rhubarb are annuals or biennials. By seed, they spread fast and easily. However, their transplant is also easy. Rhubarb plants have large oblong leaves which can grow up to 3 feet tall. Large plants have large, thick stalks that are great to use in pies. Small plants have smaller, thinner stalks that are good to use in desserts like crumbles.
Tips for Preparing Rhubarb:
Wash the rhubarb before using it. The greens are toxic, so you should never eat them. The stems can be peeled or left unpeeled. When cooking, you can cut the rhubarb into chunks or pieces depending on what size is okay for your recipe.
They are packed with minerals, such as manganese and calcium, and vitamins (especially Vitamin C). Rhubarb is a healthy addition to some delicious desserts.
The calcium in rhubarb helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure. In contrast, magnesium regulates blood sugar levels. This helps reduce the risk of diabetes. In comparison to minerals and vitamins, it is also a great source of dietary fiber. The helpful bacteria of our gut need fiber to stay healthy. Just one cup of cooked rhubarb contains 8% of your recommended daily dietary fiber intake.
There are many health benefits that come from eating rhubarb.
The leaves and stalks of the rhubarb plant contain various forms of oxalic acid, which can be injurious to our skin and our stomach. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly wash all your produce before eating it! The leaf and stalk usually contain no more than 1 gram of oxalic acid per 100 grams (Approximately 25.5 grams).
Like other oxalate-containing foods, we should not eat rhubarb in large quantities. Some people experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, and headaches from overeating rhubarb. Those who have kidney problems should also avoid excessive consumption of this plant. Pregnant women and people with a history of kidney stones should look up medical advice before eating rhubarb.
7 Plants That Look Like Rhubarb
1. Beet (Beta Vulgaris):
Some people think that beets look like rhubarb. Beets are a type of plant that belongs to the amaranth family and is classed as a root vegetable. The name beetroot comes from the words “bêt” and “Rapa,” which means “red or white turnip.” Unlike turnips, beets contain a large number of sugars, especially sucrose and fructose.
Sucrose is a simple sugar that can be easily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. The energy content of beet is not as high as that of a potato. But this has little effect on their consumption frequency as they are often combined with other foods in order to provide both dietary fiber and nutrients.
2. Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus Foetidus):
Skunk cabbage plants are dubbed “the most handsome of plants,” and that is not without reason. The yellow and green leaves with their sharp edges really stand out among other vegetables in the garden or on restaurant menus. These plants don’t need much light and are easy to grow in the garden. You can also sow skunk cabbage seeds in the summer so that by autumn, you’ll have ripe fruit. The leaves can be eaten in salads, soups, and other dishes that call for fresh vegetables.
Skunk cabbage is not considered an authentic vegetable. It is actually considered a member of the potato family (Solanaceae). It doesn’t belong to the cabbage family (Brassicaceae). However, it belongs to Alliaceae. Skunk cabbage is closely related to three popular edible vegetables: Chives, garlic, and onion.
3. Greater burdock (Arctium lappa):
Greater burdock (Arctium lappa) is a plant that produces large, edible roots. You can eat them raw or you can boil them and then cut them to make a fresh relish. The leaves are also edible and can cook boiled like spinach. Great burdocks look like rhubarb with large purple flowers and green leaves. That grows on the plant as the stems grow upward. They originate from Europe. But they have an invasive nature so that they can be visible in most of North America as well. They tend to grow in places that are not disturbed or cultivated. The roots are somewhat bitter, but they are good for people with diabetes.
The leaves of this plant can use to make a pink dye. It is very vital not to use the leaves of the common burdock (Arctium minus) because people who have sensitive skin can suffer rashes and blisters.
4. Indian Rhubarb (Darmera peltata):
The plant is known by different names in Europe and America. They grow locally in cool temperate climates. It has reddish stems that are long and slender with a stiff leaf stem. The leaves are ovals almost circular with sharp edges. They tend to be about 2-4 cm wide, similar to rhubarb leaves but smaller. The flowers are white or red-purple.
Indian Rhubarb is the scientific name for the type of rhubarb natively found in India. It was only known in the wild to found in North-Eastern India. From cultivation and botanical studies, they discovered that this rhubarb is not only found in the northeastern part of India. But also in several parts of South India. However, it does not grow naturally in all of these areas. It is believed that they were exotic plants that had been brought there by traders from other places.
Indian Rhubarb is a perennial herb that grows to a height of 12 cm. It has a deep taproot, and its rough stems have reddish-purple colored flowers at the top. Its leaves are ovate in shape, dark green, and have a smooth shiny surface. The leaves tend to be round or slightly oval-shaped and can grow up to a length of 60 centimeters. The leaves are quite thick, fleshy, and moist in texture. The stem of the plant is quite long, flexible, and stout. It has bristly hairs, which can be either red, pink, or purple in color.
5. Poison Hemlock ( Conium maculatum):
Poison hemlock looks like rhubarb; it is an invasive plant that can be found in the United States. It has a strong scent with purple foliage and green flowers that turn red when mature. The plant grows about 6 inches to 2 feet tall. It also spreads out with its stems growing horizontally up to nine feet long. It is in the parsley family. It can be found throughout the United States from spring through summer.
The Greeks used Poison hemlock as a form of execution. In 100 BC, Socrates had a cup of poison that had been laced with poison hemlock to kill him. In notion, Socrates might have killed himself so that his students could study without being under his shadow. For centuries to cause death this plant has been used. It still remains a popular form of execution in countries around the world.
6. Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria Japonica):
Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to East Asia. It is sometimes considered an invasive weed in other parts of the world, including Europe and North America.
Japanese knotweed is closely related to edible rhubarb, which it can resemble when young. Its stems are covered with fibrous hairs rather than the smooth leaves of the true rhubarb plant. At the same time, its leaves have deeply divided lobes.
Japanese knotweed was formerly considered an edible plant, even by folk healers. It is deemed to be soft and sweet, with a mild flavor. The cooked shoots are eaten raw or boiled for later use or used as a substitute for other vegetables in soups or stews. The mature leaves could use both raw and cooked as greens.
7. Canaigre Dock (Rumex alpinus):
These plants are more than just common weeds. They may look like rhubarb, but canaigre docks belong to the Umbelliferae family. Their flowers and fruit, as well as the leaves and roots, have properties in similar to those of other members of the family — namely anise and dill.
Canaigre docks are also known as Geosporum canagro and Geosporum novae-angliae. They are plants with the characteristics of a rhubarb plant. Their plants grow up to one and a half meters tall and bear large umbels, which display yellow flowers. When these flowers wither, the umbel produces red berries as young as pinheads. The fruit is edible and slightly poisonous. The roots of this plant are yellow and taste like mustard, which makes them quite tasty for both humans and birds.
The canaigre dock is a specialist since it grows only on beaches and cliffs. It would be sad to lose such a plant that has adapted to wind and salt water. As such, we should protect these plants from destruction to ensure their survival.
Individuals who enjoy gardening may be surprised to see that plants can resemble something else. Indeed, there are hundreds of different species that act like this. From what we know, the plant kingdom is full of them. Although they are uncommon, rhubarbs can be found nearly anywhere in the world. However, you definitely will not want to eat them! No matter how similar they look to rhubarb, do not even consider it! They might look delicious, but these plants are not edible. Here, we discussed 7 plants that look like Rhubarb. We hope this information helped you a lot. Thank you. Have a great day.