Gunnera manicata - Gunneraceae

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata habit


A semi-tender perennial with huge leaves. Jurassic jungle-look on a gigantic scale, highly architectural. Needs space and ideally moist to wet soils.


EN: Giant Rhubarb, D: Mammutblatt, FR: Rhubarbe Géante, ESP: Ruibarbo Gigante, ZH: -

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata inflorescence
the tiny flowers open in early summer
Very large, clump-forming, rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial with gigantic leaves formed on prickly petioles, prominently veined and sharply toothed, deep green, the numerous tiny, red flowers open on 1m tall branched panicles in early summer, slowly increasing in size.

Height: 2.5m (8ft)

Like all herbaceous they all benefit from an annual cut to the ground to tidy up the clumps. It is recommended to fold the leaves over the crown in autumn to protect it from harsh frosts in winter as it is not fully hardy in colder areas. The stalks can be used to weigh the leaves down. When spring arrives and the frost is mostly over, simply remove leaves and stalks to give the shooting buds air and light.

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata architectural
G. manicata provides a dramatic architectural feature when you have the space

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata habitat
Gunnera manicata in its ideal setting.

Division, plants can be chopped into pieces as long as each piece has got a growing bud and a decent size root attached. As this plant is rather chunky and solid, not an easy task.

Meaning of plant name:
GUNNERA: named after Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), Norwegian botanist and Bishop of Trondheim

MANICATA: with a felty covering which can be stripped off

Origin: Colombia, Brazil

Growing conditions:
heavy or poorly drained soils like clay or loam, wet or boggy, partly waterlogged, although will also happily grow in drier conditions, any pH, alkaline or acid soils, also grows on chalk although might need regular watering here, in full sun or partial shade, ideally slightly sheltered from winds

Hardiness: H4 - Hardy throughout most of the UK (-10 to -5°C)

Pests and Diseases: generally no problems

Other useful information:

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata winter protection
It is recommended to protect the crown over winter, their own leaves are perfect.

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata overwinter
In early spring old leaves are easily removed when harsh frosts are over

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata spring buds
newly emerging leaves beside the budding flower panicle

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata leaf texture
The leaf texture is rough and very interesting.

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata leaf illuminated
The sunlight illuminates the leaf and makes all that chlororphyll glow.

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata young shoots
Gunnera manicata's young shoots

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata reflection
Reflection in the water.

Botaniquarium - Gunnera manicata habit
Gunnera manicata stands out.

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