Alaska Wild Rhubarb (Polygonum alaskanum)

Perennial
P. phytolaccaefolium. Meisn.&Small.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Alaska Wild Rhubarb
Polygonum alaskanum
Polygonaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant is astringent[74]. The raw roots and stem bases have been chewed as a treatment for coughs and colds[257].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[257]. They have an acid flavour and can be used as a sorrel substitute[74]. The chopped leaves and stems have been added to a thick pudding of flour and sugar then eaten[257].

    Leaf stems – raw or cooked. An acid flavour, they can be cut into sections and used like rhubarb (Rheum spp)[257].

    The juice from the plant has been sweetened and used as a refreshing drink[257].

    Seed – raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
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]. 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].
Western N. America – Alaska to California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.