Rheum ‘Ace of Hearts’.
A lovely foliage plant that deserves to be more used. The leaves of Rheum ‘Ace of Hearts’ are heart shaped with rich burgundy reverses, stems and veins which are shown of beautifully by the way they are carried stiffly upright. The flowers are carried 1.5m high and are of a creamy white. A robust, but not overlarge clumper. Thought to be a hybrid of R.kialense. Particularly lovely when the sun shines through the leaves. A great favourite of Dan Hinckley.
The genus name ‘Rheum’ could have two origins. some people think it is from ‘Rha’, the ancient name for the Volga, on whose banks it grows freely and the greek ‘barbaros’=foreign. ie the strange plant from across the Volga. Others think it may be from the Greek ‘rheo’ – to flow – in reference to the purgative properties of the roots.
It is still grown in some parts of China for its medicinal properties. The dried rhizomes are decocted with orange and the bark of Magnolia officinalis to form treatments for various intestinal ailments. It has been in use in Chinese medicine for at least 4000 years. Rheum palmatum doesn’t grow sufficiently well in Britain for commercial growth for medicinal use. However, Rheum officianlis is grown on a small scale in its place. The garden Rhubarb, Rheum rhaponticum has limited medicinal use.
First known in Europe in 1732 when a Dutch Physician, Boerhave, purchased seed from a Tartarian rhubarb dealer. These produced two distinctive plants, one of which turned out to be Turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), the other Garden rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum).
Rheum ‘Ace of Hearts’ – Polygonaceae