Alexandra's Rhubarb Rheum alexandrae

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
Alexander's rhubarb


Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, is a remarkable perennial plant with a visually striking appearance. It features large, orbicular basal leaves which are characteristically bold and luxuriant. The surface of the leaves is a rich green color, often glossy, exuding vitality and robustness. Each leaf is supported by a stout, fleshy petiole, which adds to the plant's sturdy look. The most distinctive feature of Alexandra's rhubarb is its elegant and dramatic flower stalks. During the blooming period, the plant produces tall, upright inflorescences that unfurl clusters of tiny, creamy white flowers. These flowers are arranged in a conical shape, somewhat akin to a dense, elongated plume that gracefully rises above the foliage. As the plant matures, the flowers may give way to winged seed capsules, adding further visual interest to the already ornamental species. Additionally, the bracts that enclose the flowers are large and conspicuous, often with a translucent quality, imparting a lantern-like appearance to the flower spikes. The overall aesthetic of the plant demonstrates both a robust form and a delicate floral display, melding strength with elegance in its garden presence. Alexandra's rhubarb is an eye-catching botanical specimen that brings a sense of architectural grandeur to the landscapes it inhabits.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Alexandra's Rhubarb, Sikkim Rhubarb

    • Common names

      Rheum nobile var. alexandrae, Rheum speciforme.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant known as Tibetan rhubarb contains anthraquinones, which are natural compounds that can act as laxatives. If ingested in large enough quantities, Tibetan rhubarb can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping. It's important to handle this plant with care and ensure it is prepared correctly to minimize any adverse effects. Overconsumption can lead to potential complications such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from excessive diarrhea.

    • To pets

      Tibetan rhubarb is also considered toxic to pets due to the presence of anthraquinones. If ingested, pets may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. As with humans, excessive ingestion can lead to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other complications. It is important to prevent pets from accessing and consuming this plant to avoid poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 feet (1.83 meters)

    • Spread

      3 feet (0.91 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, adds aesthetic appeal to gardens with its large, attractive leaves and tall flower spikes.
    • Culinary Use: The stalks of certain Rheum species, including some varieties of Alexandra's rhubarb, can be used in cooking for their tart flavor, although it's important to note that many parts of these plants are toxic if not prepared correctly.
    • Soil Improvement: As a deep-rooted plant, Alexandra's rhubarb can help to break up compacted soils, allowing for better water infiltration and aeration.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The flowers of the plant can attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies, enhancing local biodiversity.
    • Drought Resistance: Rheum alexandrae is adapted to withstand periods of low water availability, making it suitable for xeriscaping and drought-prone gardens.
    • Cultural Significance: In certain regions, specific types of rhubarb have historical and cultural importance, being used in traditional dishes and ceremonies.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, can be employed in landscape gardening for its striking foliage and ornamental appearance, adding a unique aesthetic to rockeries and alpine gardens.
    • The large, bold leaves of Alexandra's rhubarb can be used as natural umbrellas or temporary shelters, providing shade from the sun or protection from light rain in outdoor activities.
    • Fiber extracted from the stem and leaves of Alexandra's rhubarb could potentially be used in the making of textiles or paper, as with other Rheum species, though this is not a common practice.
    • In regions where Alexandra's rhubarb grows, the stems' robustness might be used in traditional construction for making temporary fences or barriers.
    • The dye from the bright yellow flowers of Alexandra's rhubarb may be used in natural dyeing processes, although the colorfastness and extraction methods would need to be explored.
    • As a cold-hardy plant, Alexandra's rhubarb can serve as a cover crop in high-altitude farming practices to help manage soil erosion and maintain soil health during off-seasons.
    • Rheum alexandrae can be integrated into permaculture systems in appropriate climates as an ornamental that also supports soil stability.
    • The visually striking seed heads of Alexandra's rhubarb might be collected and used in dried flower arrangements or as part of decorative displays in homes or public spaces.
    • Leaves of Alexandra's rhubarb could serve as a natural wrap for food during picnics or outdoor cooking, adding an ecological and rustic touch to the presentation.
    • The imposing presence of Alexandra's rhubarb can be of interest to botanical artists and photographers who may utilize it as a subject for their artwork and photography.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Alexandra palm is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Alexandra palm is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purity: Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, often grows in pristine alpine environments, which can symbolize the purity and untouched beauty of nature.
    • Resilience: As a plant that thrives in harsh, mountainous conditions, Alexandra's rhubarb represents the ability to survive and adapt in difficult circumstances.
    • Medicinal properties: Traditional uses of Alexandra's rhubarb in medicine can symbolize healing and the importance of health and well-being.
    • Rarity: Given that it is not a widely known species, the rarity of Alexandra's rhubarb can symbolize uniqueness and the value of preserving rare aspects of our natural world.

Every 2-3 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    For Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, it's best to water deeply once a week, providing about 1-2 inches of water each time. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot. Watering should be done directly at the base of the plant, avoiding wetting the foliage which can lead to fungal diseases. In hotter seasons or during dry spells, you may need to increase the frequency to twice a week, ensuring the plant receives a consistent amount of water that mimics its native habitat conditions.

  • sunLight

    Alexandra's rhubarb thrives in full sunlight to partial shade. The ideal location would offer morning sunlight and afternoon shade, especially in hotter climates. Ensure the plant receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and development.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Alexandra's rhubarb prefers cooler temperatures and can endure a range from approximately 30°F to 75°F. Ideally, it should be grown in conditions that hover around 60°F to 70°F. Protection from extreme temperatures and frost is crucial as severe cold or heat can damage or kill the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Alexandra's rhubarb should be pruned to remove any spent flower stalks and to eliminate dead leaves, which will encourage new growth and improve air circulation. Pruning is best done in the fall after the plant has died back, as this prepares it for the next growing season. Removing older stalks can also help to increase the vigor of the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Alexandra palm requires a rich, well-draining soil mix with a pH of around 6.0 to 6.5. A blend of loam, peat, and sand is ideal to ensure proper drainage and aeration while retaining some moisture.

  • plantRepotting

    Alexandra palm should be repotted every 2 to 3 years, or when it has outgrown its current pot, to ensure continuous growth and health.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Alexandra palm thrives in moderate to high humidity levels but can tolerate lower humidity environments with proper care.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and room to grow.

    • Outdoor

      Place in partial shade, shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in moist, cold conditions typical of its mountainous habitat. Upon sprouting, the seedling grows into a rosette of large, basal leaves which are capable of photosynthesis and fuel further growth. As the plant matures, it develops a sturdy stem that gives rise to a flower spike with numerous small flowers; Alexandra's rhubarb is a perennial, so this stage may not occur until several years into its life. After pollination, the flowers produce triangular achene fruits, each containing seeds ready to disperse and start a new generation. The plant then enters a period of dormancy during the cold winter months, conserving energy within its underground rhizome. With the return of favorable conditions, Alexandra's rhubarb resumes growth, completing its life cycle by regenerating foliage and, when mature enough, repeating the flowering process.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagating Rheum alexandrae, commonly known as Alexandra's rhubarb, is through seed sowing. Seed propagation often takes place in late winter to early spring. The seeds should be sown in well-draining soil at a depth of about 1/4 inch (approximately 6 millimeters). It is important to maintain a consistent moisture level without waterlogging the soil. Seeds usually germinate within a few weeks if kept at room temperature. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, they are transplanted into individual pots and later moved outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. This method allows for a high success rate and good genetic variation among the resulting plants.