Rhubarb is a group of plants that belong to the genus Rheum
Rheum (genus)
Rheum is a genus of about 60 perennial plants in the family Polygonaceae. The genus includes the vegetable rhubarb The species have large somewhat triangular shaped leaves with long, fleshy petioles. The flowers are small, greenish-white to rose-red, and grouped in large compound leafy...

in the family Polygonaceae
Polygonaceae is a family of flowering plants known informally as the "knotweed family" or "smartweed family"— "buckwheat family" in the United States. The name is based on the genus Polygonum and was first used by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789 in his book, Genera Plantarum. The name refers...

. They are herbaceous perennial plant
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

s growing from short, thick rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

s. They have large leaves
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 that are somewhat triangular-shaped with long fleshy petiole
Petiole (botany)
In botany, the petiole is the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The petiole usually has the same internal structure as the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile, or clasping when they partly surround the...

s. They have small flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s grouped in large compound leafy greenish-white to rose-red
Rose (color)
Rose is the color halfway between red and magenta on the HSV color wheel, also known as the RGB color wheel, on which it is at hue angle of 330 degrees.Rose is one of the tertiary colors on the HSV color wheel...

An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Strictly, it is the part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed and which is accordingly modified...


Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal and culinary uses. The traditional Chinese pharmacopeia features rhubarb (as a laxative).