Chilean rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria) is a gargantuan perennial that is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-10. It prefers moist, rich soil in full sun or partial shade. This plant certainly says “WOW!” Its bold foliage, with leaves up to 6 feet across, has the texture of that of (we can only imagine) dinosaur skin. In fact, it’s easy to picture dinosaurs strolling amongst these plants as they head to a pond for a drink of water. Gardeners in warmer climates can grow this monster as a perennial, while northern gardeners are restricted to growing it in a pot to be over wintered indoors or building elaborate systems to protect the crowns from deep freezes in winter. As wonderful as it it, the plant has become a troublesome invasive in parts of Ireland and New Zealand. Eradicating it is not easy, due to its size and the ferocious spines on its stems and leaf undersides. It spreads by both seeds and rhizomes.
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