Alaska Wild Rhubarb

Botanical Name:Polygonum alaskanum
Family :       Polygonaceae
Genus :       Polygonum

Synonyms: Aconogonon alaskanum – (Small.)Soják.
Common Names in English: Alaska Wild Rhubarb

Habitat: Northwestern N. America – Alaska to Yukon and eastern Russia.     Sub-alpine to alpine meadows, talis slopes and ridges. Montane slopes above treeline, steep hillsides, steep cut banks or sandy loam of rivers; 100-1300 metres .

Description:

Perennial growing to 1.8m.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
click to see the picture
Herbs, shrubs , or small trees , sometimes monoecious or dioecious. Stems erect , prostrate , twining , or scandent , often with swollen nodes, striate , grooved , or prickly. Leaves simple , alternate, rarely opposite or whorled , petiolate or subsessile ; stipules often united to a sheath (ocrea) . Inflorescence terminal or axillary , spicate , racemose, paniculate , or capitate. Pedicel occasionally articulate . Flowers small, actinomorphic , bisexual , rarely unisexual . Perianth 3-6-merous, in 1 or 2 series, herbaceous, often enlarged in fruit or inner tepals enlarged, with wings, tubercles , or spines. Stamens usually (3-) 6-9, rarely more; filaments free or united at base ; anthers 2-loculed, opening lengthwise; disk annular (often lobed ) . Ovary superior, 1-loculed; styles 2 or 3, rarely 4, free or connate at lower part. Fruit a trigonous , biconvex , or biconcave achene; seed with straight or curved embryo and copious endosperm.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.


Cultivation:

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it is hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It is quite possibly no more than a synonym for P. alpinum[257]. Although very closely related to P. alpinum, it is distinct[270]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[200]. Repays generous treatment[1]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233].

Propagation
:-
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Stem.

Edible Uses
: Drink.
Leaves – raw or cooked. They have an acid flavour and can be used as a sorrel substitute. The chopped leaves and stems have been added to a thick pudding of flour and sugar then eaten. Leaf stems – raw or cooked. An acid flavour, they can be cut into sections and used like rhubarb (Rheum spp). The juice from the plant has been sweetened and used as a refreshing drink. Seed – raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses:-
Astringent; Pectoral.
The whole plant is astringent. The raw roots and stem bases have been chewed as a treatment for coughs and colds.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Polygonum+alaskanum

http://public.fotki.com/bottomdollar/wildflowers_of_east/papaveraceae_–/polygonaceae_buckwh/p_alaskanum3.html

http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/P/Polygonum_alpinum/

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