Rheum Spp is classed as Rheum palmatum L. or Rheum officinale Baillon or hybrids of these two species or a mixture.
Rheum officinale, the Chinese rhubarb or Tibetan rhubarb, is a rhubarb from the family Polygonaceae, native to China.
Rheum officinale is used in traditional medicine. It is also a component in the North American herbal remedy called Essiac tea.
Rheum palmatum, commonly called Chinese rhubarb, ornamental rhubarb, Turkish rhubarb, Turkey rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, Russian rhubarb or rhubarb root (and within Chinese herbal medicine da-huang).
The species Rheum tanguticum and Rheum officinale, also under the categorical term of the Chinese drug da-huang, are closely related to Rheum palmatum. All three species are known by the common English name Chinese rhubarb.
Though native in the regions of western China, northern Tibet, and the Mongolian Plateau, Chinese Rhubarb was widely used in other parts of the world, such as Europe, for hundreds of years before its source of plant identity was actually discovered in the 18th century. As a consequence of these findings, today Chinese rhubarb is also found flourishing in the West and in the wild. It is extensively cultivated, no doubt for its great medicinal advantages and uses.
Chinese rhubarb is a hardy species and often escapes cultivation and becomes wild. The plant persists as a weed in many gardens and roadside ditches. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.
The three species of Chinese rhubarb are similar looking plants that can grow to as much as six feet.
In herbal medicine, it is the roots of the plant that are used and not the stems or leaves. The leaves are poisonous and should never be eaten or fed to animals.